Reduction in shop crimes

CRIMES against businesses in the borough fell by more than 20 per cent in just one month as part of a continuing decline in unlawful behaviour directed against shops and offices.

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act showed a marked decrease in a number of offences, including burglaries or attempted burglaries in a building other than a dwelling, criminal damage and shoplifting, between October and December 2011.

Burglaries and attempted burglaries fell from 129 to 96, while criminal damage fell from 35 to 13.

Incidents of shoplifting also fell slightly across the three-month period, from 119 in October to 114 in December, but there was a rise in the number of crimes committed in November, with 128.

There was also a sharp rise in crimes categorised as ‘other theft’ in November 2011, with 167 crimes detected compared to 122 the previous month and 108 in December 2011.

The figures also show that, despite the falling rates of crimes against businesses, the numbers of crimes committed compared to the previous year have not fallen significantly.

Incidents of attempted burglary or burglary in a building other than a dwelling fell by just one from December 2010 to December 2011, and levels of shoplifting remained significantly higher last December than 12 months previously, with a figure of 83 recorded in 2010 compared to 114 in 2011.

Examples of criminal damage to a building other than a dwelling, however, did fall in the year-on-year figures, with just 13 crimes detected in December 2011 compared to 27 in the same month of 2010.

Overall, there is a decrease in crimes against the borough’s businesses, with 1,647 examples of burglary or attempted burglary in 2009/10 falling to 1,422 in 2010/11. In the same period incidents of criminal damage fell from 559 to 392, and shoplifting dropped from 1,456 to 1,289.

Despite the figures, business groups said more needed to be done. Neil Dutton, from the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “There is much that businesses can do themselves to seek out crime prevention advice, report crime when it happens and engage with local business crime partnerships.”