Crime up but still second lowest in 40 years

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Recorded crime in the West Midlands was the second lowest in 40 years last year but numbers were still up on the previous 12 months new figures show.

Almost 4,000 offences were recorded which equated to an overall 2.3 per cent increase with an annual total of 174,526 recorded crimes committed in the region in the year up to April 1, a monthly average of 14,381.

More than half of these were made up of actual bodily harm assault, theft from motor vehicles, home burglaries, criminal damage to vehicles and thefts involving metal and mobile phones.

Police chiefs attributed much of the rise to more people reporting domestic violence as a result of Operation Sentinel, a recent campaign encouraging victims to break their silence.

The number of homes burgled continues to fall with 840 fewer victims than last year in the lowest total of that type of crime ever recorded by the force since its formation.

West Midland Chief Constable Chris Sims said in a report presented to the Strategic Policing and Crime Board at a meeting in Coventry: "Crime performance is steady and the volume of crime ended the year with the second lowest volume ever. Whilst there is a small increase in total recorded crime compared to last year this is down to increases in reporting around domestic abuse that has been proactively encouraged by the force through Operation Sentinel."

There were 1,552 more offences logged as violence with injury but 1,037 of this increase related to domestic violence, representing 67 per cent of the overall rise. The Chief Constable pointed out: "In recent years the offences with a domestic element were on average 30 per cent of the total number of crimes logged as domestic with violence, however this year it has risen to almost 36 per cent. The domestic violence task and finish group has deliberately aimed to increase the levels of reporting and recording."

Less than 43 per cent of reported crime was solved last year, slightly down on the previous 12 months. The worst clear up rate was in vehicle crime where only 1,832 of the 22,369 recorded offences were detected.

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