Violent crime has risen in the Cherwell district over the last year, despite a drop in recorded crime across England and Wales.
Changes in society while coronavirus restrictions were in place led to most types of crime plummeting nationally over the period – although drug offences rose by nearly a third during lockdown – the Office for National Statistics said.
Thames Valley Police recorded 3,814 incidents of violent crime in the Cherwell district in the 12 months to June, according to the ONS.
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That was an increase of 24% compared to the previous year.
At 25.3 crimes per 1,000 people, that was lower than the rate across England and Wales, which stood at 29.5.
One of the main factors behind the increase in Cherwell was the rise in stalking and harassment, which rose by 31%, from 775 incidents to 1,016.
Offences of violence with injury increased by 16% and violence without injury by 26%, reaching 1,161 and 1,635 respectively.
Overall, police recorded 4% fewer crimes across England and Wales, with around 5.8 million offences recorded in the year to June.
This excludes those recorded by Greater Manchester Police, whose data was compromised after the installation of new IT software.
The fall was driven by a reduction in crime between April and June when national lockdown restrictions were in place. Robberies saw the most noticeable drop during this period (47%), while theft offences fell by 43%.
In contrast, drug crimes soared by 30% over the three months, with offences rising from 44,064 in April to June 2019, to 57,132 this year.
Billy Gazard, from the ONS centre for crime and justice, said the drop in crime over the year could mainly be put down to changes during the coronavirus lockdown, but said police recording of drug offences “increased sharply throughout the April to June period, reflecting proactive police activity as overall crime levels reduced”.
“There are indications that crime levels in June were moving back towards pre-lockdown levels,” he added.
The total number of offences in Cherwell increased by 5%, with police recording 10,430 crimes over the course of the year.
This puts the overall crime rate at 69.3 per 1,000 people, compared to a national average of 84.7.
Other crimes recorded in Cherwell included:
- 392 sexual offences, a rise of 3%
- 3,770 theft offences, down 6%
- 991 incidents of criminal damage and arson, down 10%
- 465 drug offences, up 3%
- 93 possession of weapons such as firearms or knives, up 43%
- 539 public order offences, up 23%
John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: "Although crime fell during the pandemic the pressure on the police remained.
"Policing had to adapt to a situation unlike anything we had experienced before and continues to do so even as the national lockdown was lifted and crime returned to pre-lockdown levels.
"That pressure has increased with local lockdowns being rolled out and because of the additional challenges they bring to policing."