Crime figures down but town still has work to do

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THE NUMBER of crimes being committed annually in Worthing has dropped for the second consecutive year.

Statistics released by the Performance Information Team for Sussex Police show that 6,971 crimes were recorded in the town between April 1 2012 and March 31 2013 period, down from 7,144 for 2011/2 and 7,321 for 2010/11.

During the same period there were 66.6 crimes per 1,000 Worthing residents, which compares to 56.1 crimes per 1,000 residents in the South East and 63.9 crimes per 1,000 people in England.

Worthing is second only to the Crawley region of West Sussex, which includes Gatwick Airport.

Crime is recorded in six categories - theft and handling, violent crime, burglary, fraud and forgery, criminal dmaage and drug offences.

The number of drug offences recorded in Worthing increased by 29.5 per cent last year while theft and handling, which includes theft of or from vehicles, shoplifting and theft of bicycles, rose by two per cent.

Criminal damage saw the biggest decrease, with a 17.9 per cent drop in crimes recorded from the 2011/12 period.

Inspector Allan Lowe said: “Drug offences can go up when police are being more effective by making arrests and seizures. Tackling unlawful drug use and supply is a priority for us.

“Heavy drug users often have to commit crime to get the money to pay for their habit. Overall crime can come down when we are successful so it is worth the effort in tackling the harm that unlawful drug use causes.

“Helping people address their addictions and moreover, guiding them towards other agencies that can help them is also a priority for us.

“We continue to work hard on cutting crime across all areas and we look to target quickly any crime hotspots that materialise.

“Currently the team is working to target the vehicle crime rises in recent months in Adur and the Broadwater area of Worthing.

“We use a number of different tactics including increased patrols, intelligence gathering and crime prevention work with local communities.

“We keep focusing on any area where crime has risen until the problem is dealt with, usually through the arrest and prosecution of those responsible.”

There were 42,545 crimes recorded in West Sussex last year.