Crime in Sunderland falls by 20% – but sceptics question figures

Police patrols in the Bunny Hill area 'of Sunderland

Police patrols in the Bunny Hill area 'of Sunderland

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CRIME across Sunderland has fallen by almost 20 per cent over the past year, according to new figures.

Northumbria Police’s annual figures show total crime across the city dropped by 3,349 offences, or 19 per cent, over 2012/13 compared to the previous year.

But the figures have failed to convince some sceptics.

Doug Ridley, a former councillor who sat on Sunderland’s Crime Prevention Forum, said: “There seems to be a difference between what the figures say and what the people on the street say.

“The figures always look impressive, but when you speak to people in Sunderland, their concerns about crime don’t seem to reflect the statistics we are being shown.”

According to Northumbria Police, offences are down in every crime category, including criminal damage, vehicle crime, violent crime, sexual offences and robbery.

Violence against the person, without injury, saw the biggest reduction – down 377 offences or 24 per cent.

Chief Superintendent Kay Blyth, Sunderland Area Commander, said: “There has been notable reductions in all crime categories across Sunderland compared to last year.

“This is a significant achievement for the area command and made possible by the hard work, dedication and commitment of our officers and staff.

“It’s also thanks to our partner agencies who we work closely with to reduce crime and disorder, not to mention Sunderland residents whose invaluable support and assistance is another key factor in us continuing to reduce overall crime.

“However, we won’t become complacent. We have already launched Operation Chandra, with officers carrying out targeted patrols and initiatives to cut overnight crime across the city.”

But Jeff Miller, 56, of Town End Farm, is not convinced by the latest figures.

He said: “Every year, I hear about crime falling.

“Maybe it’s falling because so many people don’t report things any more.”

Danielle Parkinson, 22, of Castletown, was also sceptical: “I’d feel safer if I saw a policeman every now and again,” she said.