Violent and sexual crime rises in Falkirk

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Violent and sexual crimes have increased in the Falkirk district over the past four years while the overall number of crimes solved by police has went down.

The latest crime statistics from the Scottish Government show there has been a steady rise in sex crimes since 2011 with 274 over the past year compared to 222 the year before, 231 in 2012/13 and 253 in 2011.

Violent crime – which includes attempted murder, robbery and serious assault – has also went up over the past two years with 182 incidents in 2014/15, 149 the previous year and 156 in 2012/13. There were 183 reported incidents in 2011/12.

The figures also show the crime clear-up rates by local police has gone down from 61 per cent in 2012/13 to 59 the year after and 54.4 per cent this year so far. The clear-up rate for violent crimes has increased over the past year by almost five per cent.

Crimes of dishonesty, fire raising and vandalism have declined since 2013/14, as have motor vehicle offences.

Nationally, recorded crime has fallen for the eighth year in a row and is at its lowest level for 41 years and violent crime was down six per cent. There has been an increase in sexual crimes across Scotland and Police Scotland say around 45 per cent of this is due to historic cases.

The force also says attempted murder and robbery offences had reduced slightly on the year up to March 2015, while serious assault figures were the same. The rise in this crime group was down to a 57 per cent increase in child neglect cases, which is attributed to “improved officer awareness”.

Overall recorded crime levels in Falkirk have dropped by 6.1 per cent over the last two years (March figures) and the detection rate of offenders from outwith the Forth Valley breaking into homes was improving.

Chief Inspector Mandy Paterson, Falkirk Area Commander, states: “We are always looking to provide the best service we can to the public. At present, the Falkirk Area Command, in line with priority concerns voiced by the community are running Operation Core, a four month divisional operation, the main strands of which are tackling drug supply, road safety and violence.”

CI Paterson thanked the public for providing information to police which has helped lead to arrests during Operation Core. She added: “These successes are the result of the information provided by the community and I would ask for your continued support in keeping your communities safe.”

Responding to the national crime figures Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “Recorded crime has fallen for the eighth year in a row and is now at its lowest level for 41 years, violent crime is down 6 per cent and crimes of handling an offensive weapon (including knives) have reduced by 67 per cent since 2006/07. These strong statistics are backed by over 1000 extra police officers since 2007, protecting the public and keeping communities safe.

“There has been another rise in sex crimes in the last year, reflecting the general upward trend of the past few years. Police Scotland have made clear that around 45 per cent of the increase is due to a rise in historic reporting and may also be down to more victims of current crimes coming forward.

“We want victims to have confidence to report these crimes which is why we strengthened the law by bringing in the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009. Later this year, our Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm Bill will also reform the law in relation to acts of harassment and sexual offending.”

Crime figures in the Falkirk district

2014/15 – violent crimes: 182; sexual crimes: 274; crimes of dishonesty: 3227; fire-raising and vandalism: 1472; other crimes: 1490; miscellaneous offences: 4652; motor vehicle offences: 8677; total crimes and offences: 19,974. Clear-up rates (per cent): violent crimes: 97.8; sexual crimes: 79.6; crimes of dishonesty: 40.6; fire-raising and vandalism: 31.3; other crimes: 97.3; total crimes: 54.4.

2013/14 – violent crimes: 149; sexual crimes: 222; crimes of dishonesty: 3533; fire-raising and vandalism: 1584; other crimes: 1722; miscellaneous offences: 4956; motor vehicle offences: 11,902; total crimes and offences: 24,068. Clear-up rates: violent crimes: 93; sexual crimes: 86; crimes of dishonesty: 48; fire-raising and vandalism: 34; other crimes: 97; total crimes: 59.

2012/13 – violent crimes: 156; sexual crimes: 231; crimes of dishonesty: 3502; fire-raising and vandalism: 1672; other crimes: 1738; total crimes: 7299. Clear-up: 61 per cent.

2011/12 – violent crimes: 183; sexual crimes: 253; crimes of dishonesty: 3771; fire-raising and vandalism: 2110; other crimes: 1717; total crimes: 8034. Clear-up: 58 per cent.