Has the Crime Rate in England and Wales Really Doubled?

Has the Crime Rate in England and Wales Really Doubled?

At first glance it would appear that the crime rate in England and Wales has doubled, looking at the headline figures in the latest Crime Survey published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).  However,  the figures now include an estimate of fraud for the first time, based on its Crime Survey.  There were also 2.5 million cyber crime offences, such as computer hacking, the ONS estimated.  Using these new criteria the crime rate for England and Wales has doubled to more than 11.6m offences.

The Crime Survey indicated an 8% fall in crimes it covers. Separate data, based on reports to police, shows an overall rise in offending of 5%.

Official figures are drawn from two sources:

  • The Crime Survey of England and Wales (CSEW) – based on how many people say they have been the victim of a crime
  • Police figures – based on reports of crime to police

The two sets of figures have been published together for many years to give a more rounded impression of crime levels.

The police figures suggest a 25% increase in violence, with murders at their highest level for four years.

In the 12 months to the end of June there were 569 homicides, up 44 on the same period the year before.

An ONS spokesman said: “Although we estimate that there were more than seven million fraud and computer misuse incidents in the past year, this does not necessarily imply a recent rise in crime as the new measures bring into scope a large volume of offences not previously included in the Crime Survey.”

He added: “These new estimates should be seen in the context of a reduction over the past 20 years in the more traditional forms of crime, from 19 million incidents a year in 1995 to under seven million a year today.”

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