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Theft down, sex offences and fraud up: Crime figures for England and Wales

Crime in England and Wales is down 15% on last year, according to figures released today by the Office for National Statistics. Photo: PA

There were 7.5 million crimes against households and adults in England and Wales last year - a 15% drop on 2012, according to the Crime Survey for England & Wales.

The figure marks the lowest level of reported crime in the 33 years since the crime survey began.

Reports of household theft decreased most significantly, with a 25% drop in reports of the crime.

The number of fraud offences rose by 25% to 207,250 offences, the data showed. The increase was attributed to a new centralised recording through Action Fraud, rather than figures being collated locally by police forces.

Crimes that dropped in 2013:

  • Household theft - down 25%
  • Violence - down 22%
  • Vandalism - down 15%
  • Theft from the person - down 2%
  • Overall crimes recorded - down 2%

Crimes that rose in 2013:

  • Fraud - up 25%
  • Sex offences - up 17%
  • Shoplifiting - up 6%
  • Violence against the person - up 1%
Reports of household theft decreased most significantly, with a 25% drop in reports of the crime. Credit: PA

A 17% jump in the number of sexual offences recorded by the police was in part attributed to the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal.

However, less than a quarter of that increase represented historic sexual offences - defined as crimes that occurred more than 20 years ago - suggesting the publicity surrounding historic sex abuse cases prompted victims to report recent crimes.

Shoplifiting offences in England and Wales were shown to be on the increase with a 6% rise, with increases greater in the North.

This was echoed by British Retail Consortium figures that revealed its members are experiencing higher levels of shoplifting.

A 2% drop in theft from the person - previously fuelled by phone thefts - was the first fall in this type of offence in two years, following an increased drive to reduce the crime.

Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker said: "We can have confidence that England and Wales are safer than they have been for decades, with crime at its lowest level since the survey began in 1981.

"The Government has a strong record on reinforcing the independence and accountability of the statistics.

"We asked HMIC last June to carry out an audit of the quality of crime recording in every police force, and the Home Secretary has written to Chief Constables emphasising that the police must ensure that crimes are recorded accurately and honestly."