Plenty of things have changed over the last 50 years but there are always constants, things that will survive for good or bad. Unfortunately, one of these constants is crime and there aren't many topics that get people talking and cause a stir in the media like crime. With crime affecting all areas of the UK and the potential to disrupt our lives, it simply can't be ignored and indeed, it shouldn't be.
Hot topics over recent years have included ASB (Anti-Social Behaviour) and drink-related crimes, as well as more recently, the rioting in cities such as Manchester, Birmingham and Salford. These events shocked and disturbed us, with images of shop windows being smashed, looting and violence on the streets, we were not used to this sort of sudden uprising in our society. So how bad is the crime in our country?
Statistics for 2012
• Based on figures running up to the year ending December 2012, there were 8.9 million crimes against adults in England and Wales, a decrease over the previous year of 5%.
• Overall, there was a 19% decrease in incidents compared with the 2006/2007 survey.
• The police recorded 2.3 million incidents of anti-social behaviour.
• 3.7 million crimes in 2012 were recorded compared with the previous year, seeing an 8% decrease.
Any crime could disrupt our lives of course but there are various categories of crime and it's safe to say that many areas are affected by the majority of them and that they are not necessarily exclusive to particular areas of the UK. Obviously, there will be some points where figures will increase in certain crime-types within certain areas but generally they are spread across many regions.
With so much emphasis in the news currently about sex offences involving celebrities and other known figures dating as far back as the 1970s, the talking point is historic child abuse and the ability to bring those responsible to justice. Sex offences are unfortunately common and in 2012 there were 53,203 recorded offences which were split into two categories, "serious" and "other". There was a fall of 3% over the previous year however, with the more recent operation "Yewtree" delivering 214 crimes, including the investigation into Jimmy Saville. This means that there is a chance that figures will increase for 2013.
Robbery has the least recorded instances, resulting in less than 2% of the overall police recorded crimes for 2012. It is still a concern of course but with so many people becoming more vigilant with home security it has become less of a problem generally in the UK, compared with previous years. Neighbourhood watch schemes are also thriving, residents of a quiet Sheffield street recently took photographs of two men as they attempted to break into a house. Police praised the fast thinking neighbours and managed to apprehend the men.
There were 1.1 million vehicle-related offences in 2012 and attempted thefts decreased by 20% from the previous year.
Violence comes in many forms and covers a wide range of offences including minor incidents like pushing or violent verbal conduct, as well as more serious incidents such as murder. A lot of violent crime results in no physical damage but they are still classed as violent conduct and rightly so.
Anti-social behaviour is probably the most recognised crime amongst most of the population now and as our society changes, we have to find ways to deal with this very real issue. It affects communities, individuals and businesses and it can also be tied in with cases of bullying. For 2012 there were 2.3 Million recorded cases of ASB and this was a reduction compared with 3.7 Million. Between 2007/08 to 2012 there has been a steady decrease in reported cases and this can only be a good thing for our society as a whole.
So is it as bad as we think?
Crime statistics always look disappointing but most of us don't like to hear that a murder has taken place or that there has been an incident of Anti-social behaviour and so we have to take these figures on board but analyse them and carefully consider them in context with the world around us. The figures will never be low enough for our liking but the decreasing trends in ASB is a positive thing and because this has become such a common development over the last ten years, we should be pleased to see that there has been positive progress and that hopefully it will continue.