09/12/2011

North 'Suffering Less Criminality'

Around 12% of households in the North have fallen victim to crime over the past year - but that represents a fall in such incidents.

The Stormont Department of Justice has today published its Research and Statistical Bulletin 'Experience of Crime: Findings from the 2010/11 Northern Ireland Crime Survey'

The Northern Ireland Crime Survey (NICS) estimates that 12.6% of all households and their adult occupants were victims of at least one NICS crime during the 12 months prior to interview.

As part of a national statistics publication, the bulletin focuses on crime victimisation rates in Northern Ireland.

The NICS estimate of 12.6% being victims of at least one NICS crime during the 12 months prior to interview is the lowest victimisation (prevalence) rate recorded since the survey began and represents a statistically significant decrease since NICS 2009/10 (14.3%).

This recent decrease in overall NICS victimisation is consistent with police recorded crime figures for Northern Ireland, which fell by 3.8% between 2009/10 and 2010/11, from 109,139 to 105,040 offences.

This equates to the lowest level of crime recorded by the police since new counting rules were introduced in 1998/99.

Justice Minister David Ford has welcomed the report which shows a drop in the level of crime.

It finds that Northern Ireland is a safer place to live than England and Wales.

David Ford said: "This reinforces earlier reports that the level of recorded crime in Northern Ireland is on a downward trend.

"While that is to be welcomed, I am aware that for those who have been victims of crime, these statistics will provide little comfort."

The crimes affected the whole household involved and were mainly property offences, including vandalism, domestic burglary, vehicle-related theft, bicycle theft and other household theft.

Personal crimes against respondents were mainly violent offences, including common assault, wounding, mugging (robbery and snatch theft from the person), stealth theft from the person and other theft of personal property.

However, exceptions to this fall included statistically significant increases in the prevalence rate of domestic burglary (up from 1.6% to 2.2%) and burglary with entry (1.0% to 1.6%) together with a statistically significant decrease in the rate of other household theft (3.2% to 2.4).

Other findings from NICS 2010/11 and the British Crime Survey (BCS) 2010/11 show that the risk of becoming a victim of crime remains lower in Northern Ireland (12.6%) than in England and Wales (21.5%). These figures compare with 14.3% and 21.5% (respectively) in 2009/10.

The surveys also show that incidence rates per 10,000 households/ adults were higher in England and Wales than in Northern Ireland for all crime types examined.

The largest numerical differences related to: all household crime (2,496 in England and Wales v 1,311 in Northern Ireland); all vandalism (919 v 473); vehicle vandalism (618 v 262); all personal crime (837 v 484); all vehicle-related thefts (506 v 230); and other household theft (530 v 274).

An estimated 161,000 incidents of crime occurred during the 12-month recall periods for NICS 2010/11, down 14.8% on NICS 2009/10 (189,000) and 45.4% lower than the peak in NICS 2003/04 (295,000), equating to 134,000 fewer crimes.

Under half (44%) of all NICS 2010/11 crimes that are comparable with recorded crime were reported to the police, compared with 41% in England and Wales (BCS 2010/11).

Burglary (67%) displayed the highest reporting rate, reflecting the seriousness of the incidents and the associated likelihood of insurance claims. The most common reason for not reporting a crime, cited by 72% of victims, was 'too trivial/ no loss /police would not /could not do anything'.

The most likely households to be victims of burglary were those: with a household reference person aged 16 to 24 (7.4%); in areas perceived to have a high level of anti-social behaviour (5.2%); living in privately rented accommodation (4.0%); containing single parents (3.8%); or residing in the 20% most deprived areas of Northern Ireland (3.8%).

Vehicle-owning households were also at greatest risk of vehicle-related theft included those: with no children (4.3%); with an annual household income of £40,000 to £50,000 (4.3%); living in Belfast (4.1%); or in areas perceived to have a high level of anti-social behaviour (4.0%).

Young men aged 16 to 24 (8.9%) were more at risk of violent crime than any other demographic group examined.

Other groups with high rates included: adults aged 16 to 24 (6.9%); respondents living in areas of high anti-social behaviour (6.7%); those who were cohabiting (5.6%); people living in privately rented accommodation (5.5%); and those residing in the 20% most deprived areas of Northern Ireland (5.1%).

(BMcC)

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