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Over 30% rise in reports of violent and sexual offences in Crawley in just 2 years

A worrying sign that crime is increasing or are more people now reporting incidents?

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As part of a series of reviews Crawley News 24 is undertaking on crime across the town, the first part of results have seen a rise in reports of violent and sexual offences of 30.9% for the first quarter when compared to the same period for the past two years.

The data was collected from police.uk and is a collation of reports for all the Crawley wards.

The polices term of ‘violent and sexual offences’ includes much more than physcial violence, it also includes incidents such as domestic abuse which the force has been working hard to ensure the public report on.

So the figures will very much be affected by the increase in reporting by the public, but this in itself is alarming.

With the police trying to be as public facing as they can recent social media posts have shown them trying to address areas such as Memorial Gardens from drug use, but with these figures showing such a large increase it is now questionable whether Katy Bourne’s additional 200 officers for the whole of Sussex is anywhere near enough.

Chief Inspector Simon Starns said:

“These figures are in line with national figures and we are lower than the rest of the region.

Crime in Crawley is similar to the rest of Sussex but we are not complacent and keep working with all partners to look at ways to tackle violent and sexual crime.

“Violent crimes can cover a variety of things and is not necessarily physical violence. Sexual crime and violent crime does include incidents such a domestic abuse which we need to know about.

We see increased reporting is a good thing and we’re encouraging these incidents to be reported. The more people report, the more know and the more we can do to tackle an issue.

“We look at taking a longer term preventative approach with our partners to protect those most vulnerable people in higher risk categories.”

Crawley MP Henry Smith said:

“These are concerning figures and the situation needs addressing. Much is down to improved reporting but also a worrying trend where ‘county lines’ drug dealing coming out of London, with associated violent crime, has had an impact on Crawley.

I welcome Sussex Police recruiting an extra 200 officers, with an additional 20,000 to come nationally as well as a recent Home Office grant of £920,000 to directly address this challenge.”

Leader of Crawley Borough Council Peter Lamb said:

“Across Crawley, we have all experienced the impact of the police disappearing from our community as we have witnessed the rise of crime and antisocial behaviour in our streets, near our places of work and the centres of our neighbourhoods.

These figures only go to show that if you allow the ‘minor’ crimes to become commonplace, the major crimes will follow. It’s time Crawley got its police back.”

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West Sussex raises alert level as more coronavirus cases are confirmed

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The current alert level in West Sussex has been escalated to “yellow” (raised local alertness) which means there is an increasing number of confirmed cases of coronavirus. This is in line with the increase in cases being seen nationally. There were 116 confirmed cases in West Sussex in the last seven days.

The County Council has introduced a traffic light system (green, yellow, amber and red) to keep residents informed about the current rate of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the county.

With the rise in cases, residents are being asked to take preventative action to stop the spread of the virus.

This includes following the “Rule of Six” which means you should not meet in groups of more than six people from outside your household both indoors and outdoors.

Residents should continue to wash hands regularly, practise social distancing, wear a face mask when appropriate and get tested when they have symptoms.

Amanda Jupp, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said:

“So far in West Sussex we have seen a relatively low number of cases of coronavirus. However in line with national trends there has been an increase in recent weeks of the number of people who have tested positive.

“It is important we do all we can to keep numbers as low as possible. In line with government guidance, please do not meet in groups of more than six people. It is also important to continue to wash your hands regularly, keep socially distanced, wear a face mask where appropriate and get tested when you have symptoms.

“I am very grateful to all residents for their continued efforts to ensure the county remains safe. We have done so well to control the spread of COVID-19 in the county up until now and we are keen to keep it that way to ensure we can #KeepWestSussexSafe.”

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