Recorded crime in Derbyshire rose slightly during 2015/16 compared with the previous 12 months.
The latest statistics, which reveal the end-of-year figures for the force, show that crime increased by 2.6 per cent compared to 2014/15, rising from 51,687 to 53,007.
Chief Constable Mick Creedon said: “The slight increase in crime is expected to reflect a national trend. But it’s important that people realise that since the national crime standards were introduced in 2002/2003 the amount of crime in the county has halved.
“There were more than 50,000 fewer victims last year than in 2002/03.”
During last year the number of house burglaries fell by 3.8 per cent from 2,714 to 2,611 compared to the previous year. Other burglary also reduced by 15 percent and theft offences fell by more than seven per cent from 26,749 to 24,855.
Despite the reduction in crimes, theft makes up nearly half of all offences recorded in Derbyshire. Theft from the person fell but there were increases in the number of vehicle crimes.
Theft of and from vehicles can sometimes be prevented by the owner taking extra care to keep their car keys safe at home and not keeping valuables on show in vehicles.
There has been a rise in violent crimes and sexual offences, reflecting an increasing trend nationally.
In Derbyshire, reported violent crime rose by 24 per cent from 10,033 to 12,463, although 4,998 of those offences were ‘violence without injury,’ where the victim was not hurt, such as incidents of common assault, stalking and making threats, often on social media or by electronic messaging.
Mr Creedon added: “There was also an increase in sexual offences, of 27 per cent, which we believe is testament to our ongoing efforts to encourage victims to come forward with confidence and to report their victimisation. Again the reality is that more and more offending is facilitated through the internet and social media and young people are particularly at risk.
“We have recently seen many successful prosecutions for sexual offences and I think this, and our work with partners, gives victims more assurance that we will treat their allegations seriously.
Mr Creedon said the 53,000 crimes do not represent the full range of offending in the county.
He commented: “Recorded crime is generally what the public come forward and tell us about and is only a part of the crimes we investigate in Derbyshire.
“These figures are defined by a national standard, which is not our standard in considering ‘what is a crime’. The statistics properly reflect low level criminal damage and theft of a tiny value, but don’t, for example, include a drunk driver, uninsured, speeding the wrong way down a one way street outside a school talking on a mobile phone - committing numerous offences but none of them are ‘recorded’ in the statistics. The figures don’t properly reflect the more complex and hidden offences we deal with either, such as drug trafficking, slavery, child abuse and child grooming and sexual exploitation.
“In response to these complex crimes the force is putting more resources into investigating and trying to prevent these offences. This means officers and staff working out of the public eye, covertly and particularly in new areas such as historical abuse investigations and specialising in cybercrime and digital examinations.”
Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles said: “While it’s good to see that we are roughly in line with national trends, these figures measure traditional ‘old-fashioned’ crimes such as violence, theft, robbery and burglary. But they don’t include crimes such as cyber-crime and on-line fraud. We may well see a national explosion in the number of crimes when these figures are revealed.
“In my mind, the most important thing that we can do is safeguard people, particularly young and vulnerable people, from those often unseen or ‘hidden’ crimes such as child sexual exploitation, domestic abuse and so-called ‘honour’ crimes. To do this, we must raise awareness and encourage reporting. We must welcome increases in crime reports because that means people have the confidence to come forward in the first place. This provides a more accurate picture of the scale of the problem and allows the Chief Constable to use his resources where they are most needed.”