Figures released yesterday (Thursday) by Thames Valley Police show that the overall number of crimes committed in the Banbury area rose over the past year.
Burglaries of both homes and non-dwelling properties, vehicle crime and the theft of bicycles have all seen a decrease in reported cases in the Cherwell and West Oxfordshire Local Policing Areas (LPA)
However crime in general, notably violent and sexual offences, increased between April 2015 and March of this year by 12.5%, a statistic mirrored by both the whole Thames Valley Police force area and nationally.
Police say this increase is down to an improvement in crime recording procedures.
Burglary is down 1.3% and arson has seen a 6.7% reduction within the Cherwell LPA in comparison to an overall increase across the entire Thames Valley region. Drug offences, too, have shown a local decrease of 16.1%, slightly higher than the 14.2% seen across the Thames Valley area.
There has, however, been an increase in more serious crimes within the Cherwell LPA, most notably violent crimes against the person is up 53.4%, from 1,741 to 2,671 cases, and there have been 470 reports of sexual offences up from 340 during the same period 2014/2015.
The increase in sexual offences has been credited to victims now feeling more confident in reporting these types of crimes to the police, and the support which will be offered. Similarly police say the increase in violent crimes is down to better identification and recording of such offences and the fact the figures now include third party reports.
There has been a 31% increase in domestic abuse reports in the last year with 1,219 recorded crimes compared to 927 the previous year. A proportion of these reports are where victims have chosen to engage with police to report recent domestic abuse, but work has also been carried out to build trust with the public which has also led to historic incidents of domestic abuse being reported.
Supt Kath Lowe, Local Police Area Commander for Cherwell and West Oxfordshire, said: “We have worked hard again this year to keep crime across the area as low as possible.
“I am pleased that the numbers of homes being burgled (dwelling burglaries) has reduced, as this is a crime which can make people feel less secure in a place they have a right to feel safe.
“I am also pleased to see a reduction in vehicle crimes and arson.
“Overall crime in the area is up. This is because of an increase in violent crime. This increase has been seen across the country and is due to us identifying and recording these crimes better. Our task now is to identify ways we can reduce violent crime, targeting problem areas or people.
“We have also seen an increase in reports of sexual offences. Again, this mirrors the national picture. People now feel more confident in telling us about these crimes, trusting that we can and will investigate them sensitively and effectively.
“Tackling crime is not something the police do on their own. In this area we have good working relationships with our partners. I am always looking to improve the links we have both with statutory agencies, like the District and County Councils, and also the voluntary sector so that we can all work as effectively as possible to combat crime together. Our relationship with the public is also vital to effective policing and we work hard to provide a fair and accountable service so that they can trust and support us.”
A detailed breakdown of the statistics can be seen on the Thames Valley Police website.