20 per cent hike in reported crime for Welwyn Hatfield
PUBLISHED: 13:19 30 January 2018 | UPDATED: 13:23 30 January 2018
More crimes than ever before are being reported in Welwyn Hatfield, latest statistics have revealed.
Figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show there were 1,504 more crimes in the area reported to Herts police between September 2016 to 2017 compared to the period September 2015 to 2016 - an increase of nearly 20 per cent
It rose from 7,715 in the year before September 2016 to 9,219 the following year.
This percentage increase is only a marginally higher than for the whole of Hertfordshire, which saw 19.1 per cent more offences reported.
However, Herts’ percentage increase is higher than the stats for England and Wales as a whole, where reported crime rose by 14 per cent. The year before that had shown an eight per cent growth.
In Welwyn Hatfield, almost every single category of offence has hiked. For example 35 more bikes stolen means a 17 per cent rise, 70 more shoplifters adds up to a 7.6 per cent escalation, and 115 more criminal damage and arson cases represents an 11.2 per cent upsurge.
There were 5.7 per cent more burglaries, up from 615 to 650 incidences, and non-injurious violent crime was up 44 per cent from 1,182 instances to 1,702.
Serious crime was no exception, with 83 more sexual offences, up 48.8 per cent from 170 to 253, and 53 per cent more robberies, rising from 66 to 101.
There were also two murders in the area, up from none for the year ending September 2016.
Out of 18 different offences named in the report, only ‘thefts from the person’ decreased - by 17.9 per cent.
Welwyn resident Hazmar Fauz, whose home was burgled last year, said: “It’s frightening and worrying purely because on a monthly basis I keep hearing about a burglary happening in the area.
“It’s very worrying. Moving out is not an option but if it was I would have explored it.”
Mr Fauz added that police resources are being overstretched and more funding is needed to combat rising crime.
Welwyn Hatfield Local Crime Unit Det Insp John Hazeldine attributed the increase to improved recording procedures for crimes like domestic violence and historic sex abuse: “Victims of previously ‘hidden’ crimes, such as domestic abuse and sexual offences, are becoming more confident in reporting crimes, enabling the force, with other agencies, to safeguard more victims.
“Most other forces across the country have experienced rises in recorded crime as the police service continues to improve recording practises, victim confidence and recording newer statutory offences such as ‘malicious communication’.
“Hertfordshire continues to experience relatively low levels of crime, having one of the lowest levels of recorded crime in the country, however, we do experience local crime hotspots. We have seen a rise in burglaries across Welwyn Hatfield. We are proactively tackling this with additional high-visibility and covert patrols and specifically targeting the people we believe are responsible.”