Rise in violent crime in Milton Keynes
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Thames Valley Police recorded 9,301 incidents of violent crime in Milton Keynes in the 12 months to September, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
That was an increase of 19% compared to the previous year.
At 34.5 crimes per 1,000 people, that was higher than the rate across England and Wales, which stood at 30.1.
One of the main factors behind the increase in Milton Keynes was the rise in stalking and harassment, which rose by 59%, from 1,653 incidents to 2,626.
Offences of violence without injury were recorded 4,128 times, an increase of 17% on the previous year, and violence with injury on 2,542 occasions, down by 2%.
There were four homicides, which include murders and manslaughters, up by two on the previous 12 months.
Overall, police recorded 6% fewer crimes across England and Wales – there were around 5.7 million offences in the year to September.
The ONS said this was driven by substantial falls in the three months to June, particularly in theft offences.
But separate figures from its Crime Survey for England and Wales show the estimated number of victims of crime in the three months to September were similar to levels seen in the run-up to the pandemic.
Helen Ross, from the ONS Centre for Crime and Justice, said: “The coronavirus pandemic and related lockdown restrictions have resulted in fluctuations in the level of crime experienced in England and Wales.
“Data from the survey showed decreases in crime at the start of the pandemic, with rises seen over the summer months, specifically in theft, following the easing of lockdown measures, with overall crime now back at pre-lockdown levels of January to March 2020.
“There were also fluctuations in police recorded crime, but total recorded offences for July to September 2020 were below that seen in the same period in 2019.”
The total number of offences in Milton Keynes increased by 3%, with police recording 25,530 crimes over the course of the year.
This puts the overall crime rate at 94.7 per 1,000 people, compared to a national average of 83.5.
Other crimes recorded in Milton Keynes included:
730 sexual offences, a decrease of 4%
8,974 theft offences, down 16%
2,703 incidents of criminal damage and arson, up 2%
894 drug offences, up 34%
327 possession of weapons such as firearms or knives, up 28%
1,748 public order offences, up 35%
The ONS said an annual 3% drop in recorded knife crime across England and Wales was largely down to a 22% decrease in April to June. However, this was followed by a sharp increase in the three months to September.
Children’s charity Barnardo’s warned that offences could “erupt” once the latest lockdown is eased.
Chief executive Javed Khan said: “Children and young people have spent months out of school and away from their support networks, leaving many vulnerable to exploitation and control by criminal gangs who have seized on the disruption.
“With rising unemployment and poor job prospects, some young people are finding it hard to believe in a positive future, and see no alternative but to turn to a dangerous way of making money, carrying knives to protect themselves.”