Crime in St Albans up by nearly 20 per cent with robbery up by 116 per cent

Operation Edison, Cambridgeshire Police conduct the last of 4 warrants searching for drugs.,

Operation Edison, Cambridgeshire Police conduct the last of 4 warrants searching for drugs., Ely, Littleport, 29/04/2016 Picture by Terry Harris. - Credit: Terry Harris Photography

Robbery in St Albans has more than doubled in the last year, with overall crime in the district up by nearly a fifth.

This is according to new data from the Office of National Statistics, which has released crime numbers in St Albans for the year ending March 2018.

As well as showing the district’s crime has risen by 17 per cent and robberies have risen by 116 per cent, other crimes such as possession of weapons offences and sexual offences have also increased.

The figures do not include the total number of burglaries which have taken place in the district in the year ending March 2018, but burglaries have been decreasing in stages since last year.

In the year ending March 2017, there were 717 domestic and non-domestic burglaries; in the year ending June 2017, there were 586; in the year ending September 2017, there were 428 and there were 249 in the year ending December 2017.

Shoplifting in St Albans has increased from 813 to 945, but city centre businesses are fighting back with the creation of the Business Crime Partnership (BCP), organised by St Albans Business Improvement District (BID).

BID manager Helen Burridge said: “The statistics are based on attempted crimes as well as prosecuted crimes so anything reported through the radio network supported by the BCP will be included.

Most Read

“This includes attempted shoplifting and also those that are not escalated by the businesses. In these cases stock is often recovered and returned to the business.

“With the expansion of the BCP we would expect a rise in numbers as more attempted crime is able to be recorded. With this more comprehensive information, businesses and police are better equipped to respond to criminal activity.

“A crime prevention app, ALERT, is being included with the BCP membership from this month to support those businesses without a radio, so there may well be a further rise in reporting capabilities in the coming months.

“Security training sessions and other business initiatives will be available to BCP members later this year to support them to protect their assets.”

Det Insp Alex Warwick said: “While we have seen a slight increase in crime over the last year, this reflects a national trend and can also be a positive indication of more accurate crime reporting and crime recording.

“In particular there has been a significant increase in dwelling burglary, but equally we have arrested and locked up a significant number of offenders in relation to these crimes and continue to work hard with both overt and covert patrols to prevent further offences from being committed.

“While burglaries and vehicle crime figures have overall been high, over the last year we haven’t seen a significant increase in robberies, violent crime or sexual offences.

“Of course, there are incidents, like the short spate of robberies that we had in Harpenden at the end of last year involving young people. We swiftly arrested the offenders and the problem stopped as a result of this positive action, but all these crimes get reported and properly recorded. St Albans and district is still a very safe place to live.

“Recently, we had two serious knife crime offences in Verulamium Park and in Redbourn – both involving young people, but no significant crimes involving weapons up to March 2018. The figures suggest violent crime involving injury has actually reduced over the last year.

“An increase in the reporting of sexual offences can be seen as positive as it means more victims are coming forward, who will then receive the specialist support they need. For example, specially trained officers have asking people to come forward following allegations of child abuse at Hill End Hospital Adolescent Unit, which are reported to have occurred between 1969 and 1995.

“In St Albans, we take all crime seriously, and I’m lucky to have a great team of detectives who are committed to dealing with a range of crime and will relentlessly pursue criminals.

“However, it is not just the police who need to be involved in reducing crime and anti-social behaviour. We work closely with partner agencies, including the council, but it is also important for parents and residents to work with us – by taking on board simple crime prevention measures, reporting crime, looking out for each other and talking to your children about the consequences of carrying knives and putting a stop to anti-social behaviour.”