This is how much crime fell in Mid Sussex over the past year and what effect the pandemic had
Crime has fallen over the last year in Mid Sussex, official police records reveal.
Sussex Police recorded 6,264 offences in Mid Sussex in the 12 months to March, according to the Office for National Statistics.
That was a decrease of 13 per cent compared to the previous year, when there were 7,223.
At 41.5 crimes per 1,000 people, that was far lower than the rate across England and Wales, which stood at 77.6.
Crimes recorded in Mid Sussex included:
198 sexual offences, a decrease of 21 per cent.
2,538 violent offences, up 1 per cent.
720 incidents of criminal damage and arson, down 26 per cent.
311 drug offences, up 51 per cent.
92 possession of weapons such as firearms or knives, down 6 per cent.
672 public order offences, down slightly.
1,522 theft offences, down 34 per cent.
731 stalking and harassment offences, up 14 per cent.
Overall, police recorded 13 per cent fewer crimes, excluding fraud, across England and Wales, with around 4.6 million offences in the year to March.
The ONS said the annual drop was helped by a “substantial” fall in crime during April last year, when the first lockdown restrictions were introduced.
The number of recorded crimes increased between July and September, it added, before decreasing again as lockdown measures were imposed toward the end of last year.
However, in March this year, recorded crime was higher than the previous year as the phased exit from lockdown started.
Billy Gazard, from the ONS Centre for Crime and Justice, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on patterns of crime.
“There were large decreases in theft offences, such as domestic burglary and theft from the person, as more people stayed at home and limited their social contact.”
But the figures did show a 28% increase in stalking and harassment offences across England and Wales in the year ending in March, compared to the previous year.
This was driven by an increase in cyber stalking cases during the pandemic, according to the Suzy Lamplugh Trust.
The trust, which was set up to support victims of stalking following the disappearance of Suzy in 1986, said it had seen a rise in calls to its helpline since March last year.
Violet Alvarez, spokesperson from the trust, said: “We know that domestic abuse has risen drastically during the pandemic, and this is evident in the rise of ex-intimate partner stalking cases that we have seen on the helpline.”
She said specialist training across police forces and courts was needed to ensure victims were adequately cared for and understood.