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Sex Attacks and Violence Rise
7:01am 23rd January 2014
Sex attacks and violence in Cornwall and Devon have risen more than ten percent in a year.
Overall crime is falling, but the rate is slowing down.
Burglary has dropped - but there were still more than three thousand last year.
Redruth gran Joan Trewern had her house turned upside down - and her husband's business has been targeted twice too.
She said: "In the bedroom all the drawers were just tipped out. Everything all over the bed, on the floor. It was like a sale room. I just sat down and cried.
"It just hit me all of a sudden that somebody had been in there and been through all our stuff. They pinched my engagement ring and my husband's watch. Everytime I go out now I've still got that on my mind."
Overall crime between in the southwest fell by 2.6 percent last year – a reduction of 2,235 crimes.
The force said it had continued to see reductions in dwelling burglary (down 8.6 per cent), non-dwelling burglary (down 11.7 per cent), and criminal damage, (down 9.8 per cent).
Despite the reductions, the region has seen some areas of crime rise. This includes violence without injury, (up 13.1 per cent), public order offences, (up 18.4 per cent), and sexual offences, (up 11.7 per cent).
Devon and Cornwall Deputy Chief Constable Bill Skelly welcomed the continued fall in crime, but acknowledged the figures also showed areas needing further understanding and action.
He said: “Crime figures are just one way in which we monitor our performance in order to make our communities safer.
“These figures show Devon and Cornwall remains a safe place to live, work and visit. We want this to remain the case and victims to be at heart of everything we do.
“However, reducing crime and making our communities safer is not just about having low crime figures. We know there are areas where we can work with partners and improve people’s quality of life which might not be reflected in crime statistics.
“A small rise in crime in some areas does not make Devon and Cornwall less safe, but none the less, we have to constantly observe crime trends to reduce offences and work with our partners to deal with the root cause of them as soon as possible.”
The summer period saw a rise in crime in some areas with more than 10 million people estimated to have been in the Devon and Cornwall region at times – compared to a resident winter population well below 2 million.
Deputy Chief Constable Skelly added: “There is no doubt that summer policing is a challenge for the force with no extra resource, but there is other things we need to focus on with partners in terms of health, well being and looking at reducing the causes of crime.
“Alcohol is undoubtedly a factor in a large proportion of crime and looking at how and why people drink and then become involved in with the police, NHS and other agencies is critical.
“We estimate alcohol to be involved in at least 35 per cent of violent crime, so the consumption, licensing and selling of alcohol is having a huge impact on the communities of Devon and Cornwall.
“There is already extensive work going on with partners and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to look at how this can be most effectively managed.
“There is no doubt that violent and sexual offences are aggravated and at times caused by alcohol, and that it also impacts heavily on areas such as domestic abuse.”
He added: “Helping and protecting vulnerable people in our communities is hugely important along with understanding how we can do this more effectively in collaboration whenever possible with partners .
“And communities are also being blighted by offences such as shoplifting and bilking, which although they might be on the lower scale in terms of financial value, have a huge impact on small business.
“As afForce we remain committed to working closer than ever with partners and communities to problem solve and do whatever possible to help those communities we serve.”
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