Fife’s Divisional Commander has hailed a “positive start” to 2016/17 after new figures revealed a drop in crime from last year.
Statistics presented to Fife’s safer communities committee for April to June showed the total number of crimes reported has fallen by almost 1% and remains significantly below the five-year average.
Anti-social behaviour, the public’s number one priority for policing in Fife according to a recent survey, has seen the greatest reduction with 263 fewer incidents reported compared with the same three months last year.
Sexual crime, drugs offences, crimes of dishonesty and domestic crime have also fallen, while partnership work in respect of rural crime and a push to educate the public on home security has also contributed a reduction in the number of reported housebreakings.
However, the fact that crimes of violence rose from 87 to 96, and crimes of vandalism, malicious mischief and fireraising increased from 774 to 938 means the force in Fife has been given plenty of food for thought going forward.
Chief Superintendent Angela McLaren, the region’s Divisional Commander, said: “I’m really pleased that we’ve been able make a positive start to 2016/17.
“Whilst overall crime levels remain the same, all types of housebreaking are down 13% and break-ins to homes are down 19%.
“Your home is where you should feel safest, and this year’s improvement can be attributed to occupants taking simple steps to secure their property, combined with a proactive policing approach in tackling these offences.
“Likewise we have seen a significant drop in vehicle crime by 18%.
“The number of drugs offences also remains comparable to last year with a reduction in supply, production and cultivation charges.
“Through continued proactivity, partnership working and by members of the public of the public providing valuable information, we continue to take positive action removing these substances from our streets and making our communities safer.”
Chief Supt McLaren noted the increase in violent crime compared with last year but added: “The move from spring into summer often involves a peak in crimes of violence that can be partly attributed to the longer days, warmer weather and increased alcohol consumption.
“Despite this overall increase, common assault figures have actually reduced.
“Fife Division has implemented a Violence Reduction Working Group that focuses on preventing and reducing violence within Fife.
“Through the provision of additional officers during busy times and support from national resources we continue to respond to community needs, making violence a top priority.”
The rise in vandalism and fire-raising has also given some cause for concern, but Chief Supt McLaren vowed to tackle the issue.
“Last year saw a record low for reports of vandalism and fire-raising in Fife and we are committed to reducing these instances through our dedicated prevention officers and by continuing to encourage the public to report these crimes to our officers,” she concluded.
Committee members also heard that Police Scotland’s ‘Your View Counts’ engagement campaign had attracted more than 10,000 respondents nationally, with Fife’s top five local priorities identified as anti-social behaviour, housebreaking, drug dealing/misuse, violent crime and child abuse/child sexual exploitation.