RESIDENTS have been praised for their part in the reduction of crime and anti-social behaviour across the Morpeth police sector.
The total number of offences went down by 14 per cent, from 1,013 in 2010/11 to 868 in the last 12 months.
The biggest decrease was in violent crime, 175 in 2011/12 compared to 301 a year earlier, and there were falls in criminal damage and other crime by 14 per cent and 18 per cent respectively. Drug offences dropped from 44 to 28.
But vehicle crime more than doubled from 62 to 128 and this was down to a big increase in the number of thefts from motor vehicles. There was also a small rise of nine per cent in burglaries.
Morpeth Neighbourhood Inspector Dave Simpson said: “This reduction is not only a reflection of the hard work and determination of my staff, but of Northumberland County Council and other partners, as well as residents doing all that they can to ensure that they are not only vigilant and security conscious, but also get in touch with us when they have valuable information in relation to criminal activity.
“Not only have we managed to reduce crime, but anti-social behaviour is also down by just over 24 per cent on the previous year.
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“We have achieved this by targeting the problem areas and identifying and dealing with those involved in all forms of this behaviour.
“There is still room for improvement in certain areas, however, and we will continue to do all we can to make Morpeth and the surrounding areas a safe place to live and visit.
“We did see an increase in vehicle crime last year and this was down to a large amount of theft from insecure vehicles — owners leaving cars and vans unlocked meant thieves had an easy opportunity. We have recently made a significant arrest in this area.
“The largest reduction came in violent crime with a 42 per cent decrease. This was achieved by ensuring we policed the night time economy effectively and had officers on hand so that we had increased early intervention when things looked like escalating into something more serious.
“We have also have worked closely with the licensed premises to prevent violence and the Pubwatch scheme is stronger than ever. Problem licensed premises were targeted and a number of premises were caught out in operations involving underage test purchasers.”
Meanwhile, the Safer Northumberland Partnership, made up of Northumberland County Council, Northumbria Probation Trust, Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, Northumbria Police Authority and Northumbria Police, welcomed a ten per cent fall in crime across the county over the last year, with more than a thousand fewer offences committed.
Council Director of Public Health and Protection Sue Milner said: “It is very encouraging to see that crime figures across the county have fallen markedly for the third consecutive year. Significant joint work has been undertaken to address crime and disorder during the last year.
“The county council is fully committed to the Safer Northumberland Partnership to work with key partners, including Northumbria Police, to ensure residents and business, as well as visitors to the county, feel safe.
“We will continue to work in partnership to strive to reduce crime rates further.”