Increase in Crime – Cuts or Recession – Who’s to Blame?
Reading through this week’s copy of the Chronicle and Echo you would feel really depressed at the level of reported crime which runs to thirty-one reference/articles on criminal activity on fourteen out of the first 50 pages.
Thankfully the news then goes into the sports section.
There is no doubt that crime in Northampton has increased over the past 15 months with the data for 2011-2012 showing that what many would consider the most serious of crimes and especially Violent Crime (2.78%) is higher than the year before and Serious Sexual Offences up 12.5% on the previous year and over 42% higher than in 2008/09.
In cases of crimes that don’t involve violence but which are nevertheless especially important to the victims the data for 2011 – 2012 shows that compared to the year before Theft from Vehicles (+18.4%), Theft of Vehicles (+14%) and Robbery (+4.2%) are all up.
This is usually the point where people point the finger at the police – which in my view would be a major mistake – because reading the local newspaper indicates not only the range of criminal activities and incidents but also the sentencing of criminals following what must have clearly been the apprehension and successful prosecution of the perpetrators.
So here’s a thought for those who say the ‘police are useless’.
If they are then how is it that the prisons are bursting at the seams with convicted prisoners?
What really should concern everyone are the reasons behind the increase in crime over the last year and whether the police have the resources to catch the perpetrators.
A certain level of the increase can be attributed to the recession and if there is one thing we can learn from history it is that crime increases whenever there is a recession and the consequential increase in unemployment.
History also shows that increases in crime takes place in the two very specific areas of theft and domestic violence.
It is why as far back as 2009 I asked what processes are going to be put in place to address the issues that the recession would and have inevitably brought, from people struggling to maintain their mortgage, pay their rent or Council Tax.
It is a question which perhaps now more than ever needs to be addressed by those in authority.
What people will rightly be asking is why an earth at a time when crime is on the increase has the Government, County Council and Borough Council felt it appropriate to cut the number of police on the streets?
It isn’t as if this hasn’t been raised before by Labour and I’ve argued in previous blogs over the past 12 months that during a recession support for the police should be increased not decreased.
The facts speak for themselves,
An already overstretched police service, who police by the consent of the community do a fantastic job, so before we criticise them we should perhaps look at who the real culprits are, and I would argue it is those who have demonstrated a lack of commitment to the community and people of Northampton when they decided to vote to cut police funding.
So here’s a thought to conjure with.
Perhaps it will only really come home to them when victims of crime not only report it to the police but also copy the leaders of the NCC and NBC in?