The latest data by the Office for National Statistics has revealed how levels of crime have risen and fallen in year ending December 2021.
South Yorkshire saw an overall rise in crime by four per cent, compared to six per cent across the country.
However, Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings says any figures are “hard to compare” with 2020 due to the impact of the pandemic.
The biggest decline was a steep drop in firearm offences, where South Yorkshire recorded 2,162 incidents in 12 months, a fall of 27 per cent from last year.
This is paired with a seven per cent fall in possession of weapons, which increased across the country as a whole.
The county also saw dips of two per cent in the number of thefts and drug offences, and four per cent less burglary.
However, sexual offences increased by as much as nine per cent – but it comes against a shocking 22 per cent rise across England as a whole. In south Yorkshire, at least 4,314 sexual offences were reported in 2021, against 3,972 in 2020.
Beatings and assaults also went up by 11 per cent. This amounts to 52,673 violent incidents in 2021 compared to 47,642 in 2020.
This included incidents of ‘violence without injury’, which sharply increased by a quarter, from 15,376 in 2020 to 19,145 in 2021.
Meanwhile, robbery, criminal damage/arson, knife crime, public order offences and crimes against society all went up by between three and seven per cent, amounting to a four per cent increase in crime across the county.
South Yorkshire PCC Dr Alan Billings welcomed the reduction in firearm offences but called the rise in sexual offences “worrying”.
He said: “It is hard to compare this period in 2021 with the same period the year before because in 2020 we were still subject to Covid restrictions and this led to reductions in some crime types.
"Overall crime has been going up across the country, but less so in South Yorkshire.
"However, I welcome the dramatic reduction in Firearms offences which fell by 27 per cent. This was a significant fall.
"But the increase in sexual offences by 9% was worrying, even though this was much less than in the rest of the country where sexual offences rose by a staggering 22 per cent.
"Stalking and harassment has shown no increase in South Yorkshire during this period while elsewhere in England and Wales they increased by 21 per cent. We need to understand whether that is because this crime is being managed better in SY or because people are less confident about approaching the police.
“Overall, there are ups and downs in the figures, but because we are comparing the last three months of 2021 with the year before when there were restrictions due to coronavirus, these are not the most meaningful comparisons.”
The dramatic drop in firearm offences comes as 2021 has so far seen a number of deadly shootings, including the unsolved murder of Lamar Leroy Griffiths, 21, who was shot in his car while at the Diamond Car Hand Wash business on Burngreave Road on March 30.