Crime in the West Midlands has remained stable during the last year according to latest policing statistics.
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (17 July) show there were 260,673 crimes recorded in our region between April 2019 and March 2020.
That represents an increase of about half a per cent compared to the previous 12 months.
But there have been some notable increases and reductions in certain crime types.
Burglaries have fallen by 16 per cent, vehicle crime is down by 13 per cent and robbery has also reduced by seven per cent.
It follows a concerted effort to target acquisitive crime gangs and the capture and conviction of some prolific offenders.
One of those was a five-strong crime group – led by father and son crooks Nicky and Corey Rothero – who struck at dozens of homes and shops across the region.
They were caught in April 2019 and in March this year they were collectively jailed for a total of almost 100 years.
Deputy Chief Constable Vanessa Jardine, said: “We targeted burglary and robbery offenders last year, co-ordinating the efforts of response teams, neighbourhood officers and investigators to focus on people who were causing us the most harm.
“Intelligence was turned around quickly, response times were quicker and it led to the capture and disruption of some very prolific acquisitive crime gangs.”
Crime statistics covering April 2019 to last March also show domestic abuse rose by 24 per cent and hate crime by 17 per cent.
DCC Jardine added: “Tackling domestic abuse is always a priority for us.
“Since the start of the year and through lockdown our Public Protection Unit ran operations targeting domestic abuse suspects; they arrested hundreds of suspects and safeguarded vulnerable people.
“We are seeing very high demand at the moment from people reporting domestic offences.
“We had predicted this as survivors may not have had the opportunity to contact us during the lockdown but now, as restrictions are lifted, they have more time and space away from their abusers to contact us.”
And DCC Jardine added that the 24 per cent increase is partly due to us more accurately recording domestic abuse offences.
She said: “The number of people contacting us to report domestic offences during 2019-20 increased only slightly – but we are now getting better at criming all offences disclosed to us.
“That’s one of the reasons why we’ve seen a 24 per cent increase, and it’s a trend reflected nationally as all forces improve their crime recording.
“In the past officers may have only crimed the most significant offence as it was all that was needed to take the matter to court. Other offences against the same victim may not have been recorded. That was wrong and we’ve now changed our practices.
“We never underestimate how difficult it can be for abuse survivors to speak out against a partner or ex-partner. While we never want to see a rise in any crime type, increases in reporting domestic abuse can indicate people have trust in us to listen, handle their situation sensitively and take action to stop the offending.”
The ONS figures showed incidents of serious violence resulting in injury had risen by seven per cent while reports of stalking or harassment had leapt by around a third.
We recently launched a new campaign targeting online harassment offenders that’s seen Instagram, Facebook and Twitter users receive inbox messages featuring artwork warning them “it’s easy to commit crime online”.
It comes with a warning that anyone committing online stalking, harassment or threat offences risks being arrested and possibly jailed.