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Recession-driven Crime Wave Hits UK

by Gopalan on July 17, 2009 at 11:21 AM
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 Recession-driven Crime Wave Hits UK

From stress to suicide to crimes, the global meltdown seems to be taking a nasty toll of the West. UK is reporting a dramatic increase in theft, burglaries and fraud.

Soaring unemployment and dire financial straits have fuelled significant rises in bag snatches and pickpocketing, according to The British Crime Survey.


Petty theft is up a massive 25 per cent, shoplifting up 10 per cent, drug offences up 6 per cent and child cruelty by nearly a fifth.

Burglaries are up 1 per cent to 284,000, the first increase in six years.

The Survey also revealed a staggering 313 per cent increase in fraud by company directors.

Overall, fraud and forgery was up 5 per cent but those by executives soared from 198 cases to 818. Fraudulent credit card transactions are also up 4 per cent to 2.8million.

Murder cases fell by 17 per cent to a 20-year-low, with 135 fewer killings last year and attempted murders as a whole were also down by 7 per cent.

However, attempted murders using a knife is up 11 per cent and, although violent crime is down 6 per cent, rape of women is up 5 per cent.

The survey, which included crimes not reported to police, claims overall crime levels are stable although there has been a 1 per cent rise in the risk of becoming a victim.

It suggests almost a quarter of the population - 23 per cent - could now be targeted by criminals.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson admitted some crimes were on the increase and that the recession was a factor.

'We are not complacent. As in previous years, we see changing patterns of crime and we know that during economic downturns certain crimes face upward pressure, which is why we've already taken action to tackle these head-on,' he said.

The Government would tackle the rise in burglaries and theft with 'tough, targeted policing' and continuing to put money into preventative measures.

He conceded statistics gave victims no comfort but said the Survey showed confidence in local forces is rising.

Chris Grayling, the shadow home secretary, said crime levels highlighted the need for more bobbies on the beat.

'If the Government ever listened to police officers up and down the country, then they'd cut their bureaucracy and paper work and get our police force back on our streets and into our communities', he said.

'That's how to beat any rise in the number of burglaries or any other crime.'

The figures represent a chilling reminder of fears expressed by then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith last years about a recession crimewave.

Last September in a shocking 12-page memo to Gordon Brown leaked to the Daily Mail, she predicted sharp rises in burglary and violence but less funding to put police on the streets to tackle the crisis.

'Our modelling indicates that an economic downturn would place significant upward pressure on acquisitive crime and therefore overall crime figures, it said.

It suggests similar economic conditions in the past, especially economic pressures and rising living costs led to a surge of up to 19 per cent in violent crime.

She also links economic pressures and rising crime to the appeal of far right extremist parties and racist attacks.

Official figures showed police recorded 38,082 serious violent or sexual knife offences last year - amounting to 104 every day.

That includes more than 16,700 robberies, 369 rapes and other sexual assaults, 252 killings and 1,549 threats to kill - all involving knives or other sharp objects.

This compares to 25,013 in 2007/8 - an apparent increase of more than 50 per cent.

Source: Medindia


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