Crime in West Norfolk is falling. The latest figures show there’s been a dramatic drop over the past three years.
So far this financial year there have been 1,877 crimes. That compares to the same period in 2009 when there were 2,825 crimes. *
Local policing commander Dave Marshall is putting the significant drop down to a real focus on individual crimes and criminals. He said: “We work at a really local level which means we are able to examine and review every crime that is reported to us.
“It’s not just the crimes we look at though, we spend a lot of time working with known offenders to reduce their criminal behaviour and stop them reoffending. A small percentage of people commit a large proportion of our crime and we believe that by focusing on them we can dramatically bring the number of crimes down.
“Our good detection rates help with this too. When a crime is committed we are able to find out who did it and bring them to justice, thereby reducing their reoffending.”
There is also an increased use of Restorative Justice throughout the district. This system allows offenders, often young people, who have committed minor crimes to be dealt with without them going through the criminal justice system. This could involve warnings, apologies to the victims and/or meetings with their parents.
Whenever a crime is resolved using these methods, a crime is still recorded but it is hoped that by using a less heavy handed approach, the offenders are less likely to commit future crimes. This process allows them to be ‘dealt with appropriately’ but not become labelled as having a criminal record for a minor offence at a young age which could have a significant impact when starting a career and looking for work .
Supt Marshall continued: “It’s not just about the figures though, we hope that people living and working in West Norfolk feel that it is a safer place to be. We will also not be complacent and will continue to work hard on reducing crime and the impact it has on local people”
Another of the key areas that officers are working on reducing is anti-social behaviour. Anti-social behaviour can often escalate into crime such as criminal damage which then has the potential to move on to more serious issues. Anti-social behaviour wasn’t accurately measured in 2009, but since the introduction of the Operational Partnership Team in September 2010, there has been a noticeable reduction in calls reporting anti-social behaviour. The number of crimes reported for criminal damage mirrors this drop, with 763 crimes in 2009 compared to 370 in 2012*
The OPT is made up of officers from Norfolk Constabulary and from the Borough Council. They are co-located at King’s Lynn police station and the Borough Council offices at King’s Court. They work closely together to identify and reduce issues of anti-social behaviour and regularly liaise with colleagues from other organisations such as housing associations.
*Figures quoted are from Norfolk Constabulary and cover the period April 1 to July 31 in each specified year
Breakdown of the figures:
Criminal damage down from 763 to 370.
Burglary dwelling down from 115 to 62
Burglary non dwelling down from 206 to 138
Theft of motor vehicles down from 69 to 24.