The number of violent crimes and sex offences recorded by police in England and Wales have more than doubled in the last four years.
This is an excellent article by the BBC summarising this trend, with a pretty shocking embedded video in which reporters witness two serious crimes: one ‘moped mugging’ and another just ‘regular’ attempted mugging in a park.
The latest police figures for the 12 months to September from 44 forces show:
- 68,968 robbery offences, up 29%
- 138,045 sex offences, up 23%
- 37,443 knife crime offences, up 21%
- 1,291,405 violent crime offences, up 20%
However the ONS says higher-harm violent offences, such as knife crime occur in relatively low volumes, and also tend to be concentrated in cities and are therefore not “well-measured” by the Crime Survey.
Analysis (from the BBC)
Although there’s likely to be a dispute about the accuracy of the police crime figures because they hinge, to some extent, on the way forces log offences, how pro-active they are and the willingness of victims to come forward, they clearly demonstrate a rapidly rising caseload.
At the same time, the number of police officers has continued to fall: in the 12 months to last September, down 930 to 121,929. That combination – rising crime, declining police numbers – is creating enormous strain for forces.
Applying Perspectives to explain this increase in crime:
From Right Realist perspective, this increase crime will be a direct result of the declining police numbers, although the decline is so small, it probably doesn’t explain that much of the decrease.
From a Left Realist perspective, it could be due to increasing levels of marginalisation and relative deprivation (more likely?)
I think we can rule out postmodernism in the above cases – I don’t think (I might be wrong) that serious violent and sexual offences are done for the ‘thrill of the act’ – I’m fairly sure criminals don’t enjoy mugging people, for example.
From an Interactionist point of view, this increase in Police Recorded Crime (NB not reflected in the CSEW) is just an artefact of more people reporting crime – so there’s not necessarily a corresponding underlying increase.
What do you think the reasons are for the increase in the amount of violent crime recorded by the police in recent years?