Crime in East Lindsey increased by just 1.13 per cent last year, figures released today (Friday) show.
According to data produced by Lincolnshire Police and presented in their Crime Briefing Report, there were an additional 85 crimes reported in the district in 2017 compared to 2016.
The categories of arson and criminal damage (-3.04%), burglary (-18.99%) and robbery (-4.65%) all showed a reduction.
Those figures equate to 32 fewer arson and criminal damage incidents, 257 fewer burglaries, and 2 fewer robberies.
The biggest increase (+42.67%) was in reports of sexual offences, with 99 more incidents reported.
There were increased in several other categories including theft excluding vehicles (+5.53%), violence against a person (+7.71%), and vehicle crimes (+2.18%).
Figures are further broken down into The Wolds Police area covering inland communities like Louth, Horncastle and Woodhall Spa, and the Coastal area including Skegness and Mablethorpe.
In the Wolds division, crime increased by 0.83%, with 22 more offences reported in 2017 than the previous year.,
There were falls in robbery and burglaries but significant increases in sexual offences and theft excluding vehicles.
On the coast, there was an increase of 1.30% with 63 more crimes reported,
Again, the biggest percentage increase is sexual offences (+37.93%) and the biggest decrease (-12.82%) in burglaries.
In his report, Colin Haigh, East Lindsey’s Chief Inspector, praises officers who he says are often having to ‘fill the void’ created by cuts in other services.
He again stresses the problem of a lack of funding, and says HM’s Inspectorate of Constabulary has warned that, without more money, the force will ‘need to reduce significantly’ the number of officers.
• Why has the number of sexual offences increased so much in the last year? A Lincolnshire Police spokesman said that sexual offences have risen in East Lindsey in line with the national trend, and is likely to have resulted from both more victims reporting offences to the police and improved recording by police forces, including Lincolnshire, in response to ongoing inspections by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) carried out since 2014.
Chief Inspector Colin Haigh added: “I am reassured that the rise in reporting of sexual offences is due to the improved confidence that our communities have in Lincolnshire police’s ability to deal with such offences robustly and compassionately.
“The rise in recorded sexual offences is partly due to the increasing number of victims coming forward several years or even decades after the crimes were committed against them”.
• Why has the number of burglaries decreased so much in the last year?
A Lincolnshire Police spokesman said that burglary offences have seen a large decrease over the last year, with 257 fewer offences being recorded, due to several operations that have been put into place to prevent and detect this type of crime - including Operation Aardwolf (non-dwelling burglaries cross the Wolds area), Operation Authentic (dwelling burglaries in Alford) and Operation Autumn (dwelling burglaries in Skegness).
The spokesman added: “These operations have yielded some excellent results with several offenders being brought to justice and the crime prevention work that our policing teams have carried out have prevented 257 more people becoming victims.
Chief Inspector Colin Haigh said: “Although burglary offences have decreased over the last year, we cannot afford to become complacent.
“We have seen several reports of burglary where the offender have gained access to the property through an open door or window. I also encourage residents to report any suspicious behaviour at the time that it is occurring.”
• More on the figures in next week’s Louth Leader, Horncastle News and Skegness Standard.