Crime levels drop but sex and drug offences are on the rise

THE LEVEL of crime in the Mid Ulster area has dropped, according to the latest police statistics however sex and drug offences are on the rise.

The figures also show that the number of crimes cleared in the Cookstown police area in 2010/11 was the highest in Northern Ireland.

The clearance rate for all crimes in Cookstown was 35.7 per cent, which was above the average of Northern Ireland of 27.3%.

However sex crimes rose the highest with 188 reported during 2010/11 compared to 174 the previous year. This is a 8% hike and of those crimes just 21.3% were detected compared to 40.2% the previous year.

Drug offences, particularly non-trafficking offences, rose by 10.8 per cent however these had a massive 81.2% detection rate. Last year police recorded 308 offences compared to 278 the previous year.

And in the 2010/2011 year, police recorded 2,791 offences against the person compared to 2,778 the previous year, a drop of 0.5%. Of these 42.1% were detected compared to 40.7% last year.

Theft from motor vehicles had the lowest detection rate of 5.4% however this was up from the previous year’s 2.9%. And the figures show a drop of 6.8% with 316 reported in the past year compared to 339 the year before.

Commenting on the figures, Inspector Hazel Moucka, the sector commander said increasing the number of cleared crimes would remain a priority in the coming months.

“We all remain committed to bring about the best possible result for those who have been victims of crime,” she said.

However, Inspector Moucka noted that the number of thefts from vehicles had increased by 15 compared to the previous year.

“This is the kind of crime that people throughout the area can easily prevent and detect by ensuring they do not leave valuables in vehicles and that they report suspicious activity around parked vehicles.

“Criminal damage is another category that showed an increase, with 19 more incidents compared to 2009/2010, and again we ask local people to help us by reporting information to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

And there were 16 more anti-social behaviour incidents, a rise of 1.2 per cent from 1,378 to 1,394.

Meanwhile, the number of people killed on roads in the Cookstown area fell from six in 2009/2010 to one in 2010/2011.

Inspector Moucka said: “Unfortunately the number of people seriously injured increased from 18 to 22 and the number slightly injured increased from 133 to 169.

In F District, of which Cookstown is a part, there were 262 fewer victims of crime.

The represents a reduction of 2.6 per cent in reported crime numbers, a fall from 10,052 to 9,970.

Across Northern Ireland as a whole, the number of reported crimes fell from 109,139 to 105,040, a reduction of 3.8 per cent.

Chief Superintendent Pauline Shields, the F District Commander, said: “In F District there were just under 10,000 victims of crime. Behind that statistic are many personal and individual stories. Being a victim of crime can have so many effects and consequences.”