Britain has been hit by an ‘austerity crimewave’, with burglary and robbery both on the rise, experts said last night. Police figures reveal there were 9 per cent more burglaries in October this year than in December 2010. Around three quarters of forces in England and Wales saw a rise in burglary numbers when the two months were compared. Feeling the pinch: Among the worst figures nationwide were a 66 per cent rise in burglaries in Devon and Cornwall and a 55 per cent rise in Cleveland
Over the same period robberies were up by 4.5 per cent.
The figures were collated by the Economic Policy Centre from the police.uk website, which compiles data from individual constabularies.
Among the worst figures nationwide were a 66 per cent rise in burglaries in Devon and Cornwall and a 55 per cent rise in Cleveland.
Robberies were up 23 per cent in Surrey and 22.7 per cent in Cleveland.
Last week Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe told a committee of the London assembly: ‘We’ve got a challenge at the moment around robbery, particularly street robbery.’
In the year to October muggings in the capital were up nearly 15 per cent compared to the same period last year.
Several parts of London saw increases of nearly one third in robberies in the 12 months to October. In Lewisham, south east London the rise was 30.4per cent.
Ministers have insisted chief constables can protect front line police services despite cuts of a fifth in force budgets.
But Labour and police representatives say the loss of an estimated 16,000 officers can only undermine crime-fighting.
In June, Justice Secretary Ken Clarke admitted robbery was rising ‘rather alarmingly’.
Official crime statistics have shown marked rises in knifepoint robberies, bicycle thefts and pickpocketing.
Data for the year to June showed there were 14,980 knifepoint robberies – up seven per cent compared to the 13,994 a year earlier.
Police have also warned of rising thefts of iPhone and other expensive mobile handsets which criminals sell on the black market abroad for twice their value in the UK.
Rising thefts from garden sheds, yards and garages - which were up 13 per cent last year - are thought to be linked to easy sales of garden equipment in car boot sales.
Criminologist Professor Marian FitzGerald said: ‘People are feeling the pinch with the loss of jobs and benefit cuts. 'Yet people want to maintain their levels of consumption, so they hunt for bargains.
‘This increases the demand for stolen goods’.
Jon Murphy, of the Association of Chief Police Officers said: ‘In particular the economic situation has driven some crimes, such as metal theft,’ he said.
‘We are prepared for challenging times ahead, but remain accountable to our mission to keep people safe from harm.’
(Reproduced from Mail Online, 12th Dec 2011 - The full article can be found at : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2072841/Britain-grip-austerity-crime-wave-rise-thirds-burglaries-parts-country.html#ixzz1gJwpCh8a)
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