Crime is more than statistics

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THERE will be many reading today’s story about crime rates who will be shocked that children as young as 10 years old have appeared in court every year for the past five years.

Police would only take the ultimate decision of charging a young person if the offence is so serious or all other avenues have been explored and dismissed.

In addition, our story also points to the fact no-one is beyond the reach of the law, with an 81-year-old charged with aggravated vehicle taking.

These are some of the highlights of our inquiries into crime rates that show that the number of reported offences has consistently declined over the past five years.

There were 50,000 fewer offences reported this year compared to five years ago – and this comes despite a reduction in officers employed by South Yorkshire Police.

That doesn’t mean to say that crime is necessarily reducing by that amount, just that the number of reported incidents has declined.

However, it would be reasonable to expect that there has been a real reduction in crime during that time because of the numbers involved.

However, some of the crimes that affect us most, burglary and theft have increased – two categories that we can realistically expect to rise still further as the recession bites.

So Chief Supt Rob Odell’s comments about the statistics are welcome when he says it is not the figures that matter but the people who are affected.

We look forward to seeing more resources deployed to tackle burglary and theft in the near future.

Back campaign to save hospital

LITTLE Alexia Nicholls, born with a life-threatening heart condition, is today a shining example of why we need to keep the Children’s Heart Surgery Unit at Leeds Infirmary open.

Without the skill and experience at the hospital Alexia would have died within weeks of being born.

She is one of hundreds of patients from South Yorkshire who have had life-saving operations at the unit which is now threatened with closure.

If that happens, families will have to travel to Newcastle for their operations and any follow-up treatments – a huge burden and cost.

With patient choice supposedly enshrined into the NHS this decision seems absurd.

The consultation on the proposed closure has been extended until April 16. We urge you to get behind the campaign to keep it open.