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Crime

Over TEN violent or sexual crimes reported every DAY last year in Crawley

Alarming figures show the shocking truth of what is happening in the town.

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The latest figures released by the police have shown a worrying rise in violent and sexual crimes reported over the last year.

In 2017 over the same period (Jan – Dec) there were 3,155 reports or violence against a person.

Compare the figure to the same time frame in 2018 and the figure jumps up to 3,582.

This shows an increase of 13.5% in just a year.

Sexual offences including rape also increased by 8.5% from 349 in 2017 to 371 in 2018.

These all amounting to an average of more than ten reports a day.

The data was received from Sussex Police and covers the wards of Crawley but you can also see stats at police.uk which is freely available for anyone to analyse reported crimes in their area.

It is also worth noting that whilst these are reported crimes, many are unsolved, still under investigation or no further action was taken.

These findings also fall in-line with the increase in reported drug activity, up over 36.6% compared to 2017.

According to police.uk May was the worst month for drug reports with 64 filed but interestingly 21 of those reports were for the same location in Manor Royal and every single one resulted in “insufficient evidence to bring anyone to justice”.

The police have been very proactive in promoting the fact they have new officers adding to their current numbers to try to alleviate fears over the rise in crimes for the town.

But the question remains, with such high increases in numbers how will an increase of only a few extra bodies on shifts help to reduce statistics that paint a worrying picture for the area.

There has also been a huge increase in PR by the police to encourage people to report crimes and this could also be a contributing factor such a jump in the figures.

Prevention Inspector Simon Starns explained:

“It is important for people understand the context behind the headlines. Although we have seen an increase in violence against the person, nearly three quarters of all of these offences are without injury or at the lowest level of injury.

“Violence against the person is a very broad category which ranges from the extreme top end, murder and manslaughter, right through to more common minor assaults where no injury is caused.

“Crawley district has seen a decrease in the year on year number of murders and manslaughters, with five compared to seven the year before.

“Pro-active policing in some areas can also lead to a demonstrable rise in recorded crimes, for example drugs offences, through stop checks or where operations are carried out to identify and target those involved in drug trafficking.

“Robust action days for Operation Oxide, which focuses on offences linked to drug dealing, are conducted on a regular basis and significant arrests have been made through the year.

“That is not to diminish the overall trend and we review offences and intelligence on a continuous basis to ensure we can put the right resources in place to prevent and tackle those offences which cause the greatest harm. This may involve an increased visible police presence or it may require non-uniform specialist investigators who deal with some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

“Thanks to the precept increase we will see hundreds of officers being recruited over four years, leading to an additional 200 officers than we currently have.

“This gives us the opportunity to strengthen community policing, improve ways for the public to make contact and further modernise the service to meet new and increasingly complex demands.

“We continue to work with the community and encourage members of the public to keep reporting incidents of crime to us to help prevent and tackle criminal activity in the district.”

Leader of Crawley Borough Council Peter Lamb said:

“These figures back up what our community has been telling the Police Commissioner for months: drugs and violence in Crawley is out of control. Rather than telling me to keep quiet, she should have done her job and given us back our police.

We’ve lost over 700 officers since 2010, her current ‘recruitment’ proposals replace less than a third. If we want law and order back she is going to have to do much, much better.”

Crawley MP Henry Smith said:

“Increases in drug and violent crime are a considerable concern to us as local residents. I welcome a Home Office fund just awarded to Sussex Police of almost £1 million to directly tackle these challenges and Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne’s policy of recruiting an extra 200 officers. With its reserves of over £21 million though, Crawley Borough Council could be doing much more to make our town centre and neighbourhoods safer too.”

Crime

Former Surrey man who now resides in Crawley sentenced for online offences

A 28-year-old man has been given a suspended sentence for inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

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Adam O’Sullivan, of Hunter Road, Crawley, O’Sullivan believed he was talking to a 14-year-old girl but was actually speaking to an investigating officer posing as a teenage girl on Kik messenger.

In May 2016 while living in Weybridge, O’Sullivan used the messaging app to entice the 14-year-old girl he thought he was speaking to, to send indecent images of herself to him. He also sent indecent images of himself.

During their conversation he knew the user was underage but continued to request for various indecent images, they even discussed meeting up.

He was also in various online groups that were sharing indecent videos and images of children.

O’Sullivan was charged with attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity and three counts of making indecent images of a child in July 2018. He initially pleaded not guilty to all charges at Guildford Crown Court but changed his plea to guilty just before trial in February. He was sentenced today (18 March), to 22 weeks in custody, suspended for 18 months.

O’Sullivan was also given a seven-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

DC Rene Murdoch said:

“Thankfully O’Sullivan was talking to the police instead of an innocent child and no one was hurt.

“Due to our undercover work we were able to identify an offender, and he will now be prevented from having contact with young persons and restrictions in place around his use of computers and the internet.

“We work tirelessly in Surrey to keep people safe from sexual offenders who pose a risk to children. Some of this work isn’t always visible but rest assured it goes on.”

Surrey Polices top tips:

We strongly advise to turn privacy settings on your social media accounts on to prevent messages and requests from strangers.

Do not accept requests from someone you don’t know.

Never give your personal details or send images of yourself to someone online.

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