Sex and drugs crimes hiked last year

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Top Londonderry police officer Tony Callaghan says he’s concerned that the number of sex offences, burglaries, drugs offences and frauds reported to his force in the city are up year on year but insists the reportage of overall crime is down and, indeed, that crime levels province-wide are at one of their lowest levels ever.

The number of crimes reported to police in the city in the 2014/15 financial year showed a decrease of 1.5 per cent, PSNI figures released today, Tuesday (May 12) reveal.

The total number of crimes reported was 7,909, down from 8,028 in the 2013/14 financial year.

Chief Inspector Tony Callaghan said: “I am pleased to see reductions in the number of violent incidents, down by 73 and in theft, a down by 61.

“However, I am concerned that the number of burglaries was up in the 12 months to the end of March. In particular there were 69 more domestic burglaries, though the number of commercial burglaries dropped.

“The number of domestic burglaries was a concern for us during the year and we mounted a number of specific operations and made arrests. It was clear to us that a number of hard-core burglars were operating. We have endeavoured to tackle this issue through our arrests and by enforcing strict bail conditions on those awaiting trial.

“I would continue to urge people in the community to help us, themselves and their neighbours by securing their property against criminals and reporting suspicious activity.”

The number of sexual offences reported in the area also rose during the reporting period, by 48 to 234.

The number of frauds increased by 39 to 113.

Chief Inspector Callaghan added that police continued to tackle the use of illegal drugs as a priority.

“In all 398 drugs offences were detected, an increase of 20 over the previous financial year. We are making seizure and arrests on a weekly basis.”

Across Northern Ireland, there has been a slight increase in overall crime of 2.3%. However, the level of crime recorded in 2014/15 is the fifth lowest annual crime level recorded in Northern Ireland since new Home Office counting rules were introduced in 1998/99.

The statistics can be viewed on the PSNI website at www.psni.police.uk