Robbery reports rise nearly 50 per cent in Welwyn Hatfield

Police received reports of a girl being followed in Welwyn Garden City

Police received reports of a girl being followed in Welwyn Garden City - Credit: Archant

Robberies in Welwyn Hatfield have increased by nearly 50 per cent, according to the latest police statistics.

According to the Office for National Statistics, there were 108 reports between April 2017 and March 2018, compared to 73 during the same period the previous year – a 47.9 per cent rise.

It comes as police are investigating an attempted robbery in Ground Lane, Hatfield, which involved four young men ripping a 28-year-old woman’s clothes while trying to take her purse on Wednesday, July 18.

A police spokesman said she was grabbed from behind, adding: “Two other men went either side of her, with one male attempting to take her purse and the other grabbing her top causing it to rip and leaving the victim with scratch marks to her chest.

“The offenders made off in a black Vauxhall Corsa after the victim screamed and a member of the public intervened.”

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In recent years police have often attributed increased crime figures to improved confidence in reporting, but critics have highlighted how that could apply to areas like domestic abuse, but not robbery or burglary.

As a result, the ONS has urged caution when interpreting the figures, as some crimes may go unreported while others could change due to a shift in police focus.

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Overall police-recorded crime in Welwyn Hatfield increased four per cent to 9,048, meaning there were 74 crimes per 1,000 residents – slightly below the England and Wales average of 82.

Caroline Youell, from the ONS, said: “We have seen continued increases in some theft offences such as vehicle-related theft and burglary, while computer viruses have fallen.

“There have also been increases in some lower-volume ‘high-harm’ offences such as homicide and knife crime, consistent with rises over the past three years.

“However, the latest rise in gun crime is much smaller than previously seen.”

Gun and knife possession in the borough rose by 16 to 84 incidents, while theft – one of the biggest problem areas – saw a nine per cent spike.

Inspector Sophia Adams said: “The figures for robberies in Welwyn Hatfield and across Hertfordshire as a whole are considered low when compared with similar forces across the UK.

“This means that any spike in reporting, however small, can be reflected as a larger number in percentage terms.”

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