Rise in violent crime in Dacorum

But there was an overall drop in recorded offences

Friday, 30th October 2020, 3:19 pm
Updated Friday, 30th October 2020, 3:21 pm

Violent crime has risen in Dacorum over the last year, despite an overall drop in recorded offences.

Hertfordshire Police recorded 3,314 incidents of violent crime in Dacorum in the 12 months to June, according to the ONS.

That was an increase of 4% compared to the previous year.

Rise in violent crime in Dacorum

At 21.4 crimes per 1,000 people, that was lower than the rate across England and Wales, which stood at 29.5.

One of the main factors behind the increase in Dacorum was the rise in stalking and harassment, which rose by 11%, from 668 incidents to 744.

Offences of violence without injury were recorded 1,542 times, an increase of 4% on the previous year, and violence with injury on 1,024 occasions, down by 1%.

There were also two homicides, which include murders and manslaughters, the same number as in the previous 12 months.

Detective Inspector Matthew Waylett, from the Dacorum Local Crime Unit, said: “While the increase may appear concerning at first sight, it can in part be explained by an increase in reports of stalking and harassment which are included in these figures.

“Due to campaigns and changes in social attitudes there is greater public awareness about these crimes and more confidence to come forward and report to police.

"We welcome this rise as it means more people are getting the help the help and support they need, rather than suffering in silence.

“There is now more help and support available for people suffering from domestic abuse after the launch of the new Beacon Safeguarding Hub.

"The joint police and victim service unit provides support to more people, and can help explain options available to those affected by stalking and harassment.”

He added: “Compared to the national picture the number of crimes per 1,000 in Dacorum is 21.4, which sits well below the national average of 29.5.

We have also seen a reduction in sexual offences, theft, criminal damage, arson, drug offences, public order offences and firearms offences. Of course, this can partly be attributed to the impact of the pandemic during lockdown earlier this year.

“However we will not rest on our laurels and will continue to relentlessly pursue those who choose to commit crime in Dacorum.

"You can tell us what you think we should be prioritising in your neighbourhood by using our online feedback platform, echo. You can submit your feedback – anonymously if you wish – at bit.ly/police-dacorum.

"By doing this, you will be able to help your local officers frame their policing priorities and focus their resources on the issues that matter most to you.”

The total number of offences in Dacorum fell by 14%, with police recording 9,930 crimes over the course of the year.

This puts the overall crime rate at 64.2 per 1,000 people, compared to a national average of 84.7.

Other crimes recorded in Dacorum included:

- 259 sexual offences, a decrease of 28%

- 3,895 theft offences, down 22%

- 1,011 incidents of criminal damage and arson, down 21%

- 323 drug offences, down 10%

- 71 possession of weapons such as firearms or knives, down 12%

- 652 public order offences, down 15%.

Changes in society while coronavirus restrictions were in place led to most types of crime plummeting nationally over the period – although drug offences rose by nearly a third during lockdown – the Office for National Statistics said.

Overall, police recorded 4% fewer crimes across England and Wales, with around 5.8 million offences recorded in the year to June.

This excludes those recorded by Greater Manchester Police, whose data was compromised after the installation of new IT software.

The fall was driven by a reduction in crime between April and June when national lockdown restrictions were in place. Robberies saw the most noticeable drop during this period (47%), while theft offences fell by 43%.

In contrast, drug crimes soared by 30% over the three months, with offences rising from 44,064 in April to June 2019, to 57,132 this year.

Billy Gazard, from the ONS centre for crime and justice, said the drop in crime over the year could mainly be put down to changes during the coronavirus lockdown, but said police recording of drug offences “increased sharply throughout the April to June period, reflecting proactive police activity as overall crime levels reduced”.

“There are indications that crime levels in June were moving back towards pre-lockdown levels,” he added.