Here are two graphs showing the total of recorded crimes in two one mile circles. One shows the crimes recorded in a one circle drawn around a random post code in Whittlesey. The second is the same sized circle drawn around a random post code in Peterborough.
According to surveys, people generally have a pretty good idea about how much crime is happening in their neighbourhood. Although people seem to have a failry accurate picture of the crme in their surroundings 60% of those surveyed also thought that crime is rising across the country as a whole - even though the long-term trend is down. These perceptions are influenced by what we see around us - and how we hear about crime.
When interviewees were asked to choose from a list of what most influenced their perceptions of national crime levels, people talked about television, radio, newspapers (tabloid and broadsheet), the internet and word of mouth. It seems the more we read or watch about crime, the more we think about it.
If you are an elderly person then the survey found you were more likely to be worried about crime even though the older you become generally the safer you become.
If you would like to try the BBC crime risk calculator and assess your risk of being a victime of crime click here.
What is really happening to trends in crime?
Excluding fraud and computer misuse offences, in the year ending March 2017 there was a decrease of 7% from the 6.3 million incidents estimated in the previous year’s survey.
Estimates derived from the new fraud and computer misuse offence questions show there were an additional 5.2 million incidents of these offences in the latest survey.
The likelihood of being a victim of crime (excluding fraud and computer misuse) has fallen considerably over time; around 14 in 100 adults were victims of crime in the latest survey year compared with around 25 in 100 adults a decade ago (When fraud and computer misuse offences are included in the CSEW estimates, the victimisation rate in the latest survey year increases to around 21 in 100 adults, but this is still significantly lower than the victimisation rate seen a decade ago.
Police deployment is targetted to make better use of resources and to respond to the changing nature of crime. The increasing use of technology allows for agile policing but this is less obvious than traditional methods where police would be seen more frequently on the street. We live in a modern world where communications are far more effective than they used to be. The traditional police on the beat model is easily circumvented simply by ensuring that their positions are known and the perpetrators moving away before they arrive. Deploying police on the street is comforting and re-assuring but is far less effective when incidents need to be dealt with. Imagine the scene where all the police in an area turned up to a violent incident having run across town or pedalled on their biikes or even spent ten minutes running to their car before being able to attend! Looking at the statistics, violent crime is an aspect which is increasing. The police method of operation has had to change accordingly so that more use is made of vehicles for rapid deployment, and more use made of technology to aid communication and more quickly assess, appropriately tackle and record incidents.
There is a balance between the need to be efficient and the need to be visible and approachable. By reporting crime, which is unfortunately undereported, we can help that balance to become better judged.
Is there an increasing problem with crime in Whittlesey as a result of cutbacks? At the moment, from the figures, it does not appear so!
The figures below are taken from official statistics but remember that crimes may consist of a combination of aspects. For instance a burglary may involve a murder. This would be reported once under the most serious heading so the burglary would not appear in the figures. A burglary involving a theft of thousands of pounds of jewelry but where someone received a minor bump would appear on the figures as a burglary not under assault.
In Whittlesey we have an historically low crime rate. The graphs show that there are peaks but these diminish rapidly back to a low level following greater community action and awareness, combined with the successful actions of the local police. The media and social networking would have us believe that crime is constantly rising and that the police are losing control of the streets due largely to cutbacks in their budgets and numbers. The figures shown below do not appear to support this view save for one area, that of violent crime.
Here are some example statistics for Whittlesey.
Anti Social Behaviour - tends to happen more in warmer months but once the matters are reported and the ASB is tackled by the police the levels reduce to their normal low rates. Overall the trend is for a reducing lower rate with increased peaks. However ASB remains our highest level of reported crime and requires the community to report incidents to allow rapid and effective deployment of police resources.
Vehicle Related Crime - peaks when criminals are operating in the area, this returns to a lower level as the perpetrators are either caught or move on.
Burglary - most recent figures indicate that we have had a longer period than usual of low burglary rates. Peaks are followed by a reduction to a low level.
Violent Crime - this is the area in the statistices which have seen a gradual sustained increase. This supports the need for a rapid and often unpredictable deployment of police resource for attending incidents which may become, or are already, violent.