SOUTH Wales Police have released crime figures for January, which show violent or sexual crime was up 31 per cent on last year.
Crimes labelled violent or sexual increased disproportionately compared to total crime, which spiked between June and November 2014, but then returned to January 2014 levels by January of this year.
On average, the number of violent or sexual incidents reported went up by 2 per cent every month between the start of 2014 and the end of this January. Whereas other types of crime, like anti-social behaviour or burglary, have peak months in the year – burglary increases in winter, while anti-social behaviour decreases – crimes of a violent or sexual nature show a consistent upward curve, only dropping four times in 13 months.
Perhaps more concerning, are figures showing “violent or sexual crimes” have increased in the first month of the year for the past four years – climbing from 333 recorded incidents in January 2012 to 602 this January.
South Wales Police claim new methods of recording crime are to blame for the latest data, and that people are more willing to report sexual offences. But this does not explain yearly rises in violent or sexual crimes since at least 2012.
Assistant Chief Constable Richard Lewis said: “Since April 2014 we have been recording crime that has never been captured before, developing an even more accurate picture of crime levels in South Wales, placing the clearest possible focus on victims.
“This change in process is known as ‘criming at source’.
“These changes have impacted on the latest 12-month crime figures and contributed to a rise in recorded crime. We will continue to see further rises by April 2015.
“Although criming a source has lead to an initial rise in recorded crime, we are also experiencing a greater number of reported incidents of sexual offences. We have been encouraging people to have confidence in reporting sexual offences to us and so this is to be welcomed.”
“We take any sexual offence extremely seriously and we would encourage anyone affected by this crime to report it. If you have been a victim of a sexual offence we will fully investigate the incident and do everything we can to bring the perpetrator to justice”.
“We know that sexual assaults and unwanted sexual behaviour go largely under-reported. South Wales Police aims to increase awareness of sexual offences and help make victims and witnesses feel more comfortable in reporting them to us”.