Crime rates the lowest since ’73

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CRIME in South Yorkshire is at its lowest level for nearly 40 years, police chiefs have revealed.

There were 10,128 fewer crimes recorded across the county in the last financial year compared to the previous 12 months - taking figures back to the level of 1973.

Between April 2010 and March 2011 recorded offences fell by nine per cent, down by 10,128 crimes to 102,741.

Reports of violent crime, criminal damage, vehicle crime, drug offences, sexual offences, fraud, burglaries and knife crime all dropped. Gun crime went up by 11 per cent with 136 offences and theft and handling stolen goods went up by 1,965 crimes.

Chief Constable Meredydd Hughes said the overall reduction was great news but warned his force faces a challenge to maintain such levels as funding cuts begin to bite.

He said: “It was 1973 when we last had crime figures as low as this.

“Sustaining this will be challenging with South Yorkshire Police set to lose £40 million over the next four years, especially as partners’ budgets are also being reduced.

“We are likely to see a rise in some crime categories but our job is to keep crime down and we are committed to achieving that.”

He said burglaries in the county peaked in 1995 when there were 25,537 offences reported, compared to 7,249 in the last financial year.

The Chief Constable also said that in 1994 there were 22,500 vehicle crimes reported - compared to 3,284 last year.

His force has started to shed jobs to save cash. Staff are used more effectively.