Crime falls to 12 year low say police

CLEARANCE rates are up and crime has fallen to a its lowest level in 12 years right across the PSNI's H District, of which Ballymena is a part, the area's Police Commander has revealed.

According to Chief Superintendant Alan McCrum, reported crime across H District has fallen each consecutive month from October 2009 to January 2010, down from 1,067 to 765, a decrease of 302 crimes (a fall of 28.3%).

The preliminary total crime figures for January 2010 have reached a 12-year low, since the introduction of revised Home Office Counting Rules, with the December 2009 total being the second lowest monthly figure.

Speaking about the latest statistics, H District Commander Chief Superintendent Alan McCrum said: “Since October last year, we’ve seen a decrease of over 28% in reported crime. While this reduction is to be welcomed, we are not complacent. It is our aim to ensure that we have the right number of police officers on our streets, in our communities and neighbourhoods to ensure that we continue to make a real difference.

“Behind every crime statistic, and indeed every interaction with the police, is a personal story,” he said.

“By focusing on that personal story, by dealing with it in a professional and protective manner, I know we can make a real difference. We still have much to do, our efforts will be focused on listening to communities, identifying local issues of concern and working together to solve them.

“We will protect our communities by working to reduce serious harm, delivering real results – taking drugs off our streets, reducing road deaths, dealing with alcohol related crime and working with communities to disrupt terrorist activity,” said the Chief Superintendent.

He continued: “There have been significant reductions in offences against the person including incidents of violence with injury (down 30.1% and 27.2% respectively), theft and criminal damage (down 28.5% and 47.3% respectively). Robberies have decreased 22.2%, (seven in January 2010 from nine in October 2009), yet our approach to tackling this issue remains a key policing priority.”

District Commander McCrum continued: "The Chief Constable has made a commitment to increase personal contact with communities and put extra police officers on the frontline. This is already underway with 255 more officers now working in neighbourhoods across Northern Ireland.

“Many of my colleagues will be joining them in the coming months and by tackling bureaucracy, streamlining our systems and further improving our use of technology we will enable police officers to spend more time with their communities, listening and acting in real partnership to combat harm."

He continued: “Clearance rates have improved from 23.1% to 25.2% in the financial year to date and the changes we are introducing will help us make further improvements in this area.

“This significant reduction in overall crime has been delivered against the backdrop of a very real and significant criminal terrorist threat against police and our society.

“With great support from our An Garda Sochna and Security Service colleagues, we remain committed to tackling the dissident terrorist threat. Without this threat, we could concentrate our resources on reducing crime levels even further.

“These are testing times, but Police remain committed to working with all communities to provide the public with the level of policing and support they deserve,” District Commander McCrum said.