Oxfordshire police stats: Homicides almost triple amid crime rise

Crime across Oxfordshire has jumped seven per cent in one year, Thames Valley Police figures revealed today.

Yearly statistics released this morning show an upsurge in murder and manslaughter, rape, and violent crime.

Overall recorded crimes increased from 32,774 in 2014/15 to 35,380 in 2015/16.

Both violent crime and rape rose by 47 per cent, while sex offences jumped 35 per cent.

In comparison drug offences have fallen since 2014/15.

Police have put the increases down to more accurate reporting of crimes and an increase in public confidence in the police force.

Local police area (LPA) commander for Oxford, Superintendent Christian Bunt, said: “I expected an increase crime for this year due to the changes in national crime recording standards.

“Due to these changes it is very difficult to compare this year’s crime figures with previous years.

“The positive thing about the changes is that it ensures we have a more accurate picture of crime so that we can focus our preventative enforcement activity.”

Homicides in Oxfordshire almost tripled in one year, from three cases in 2014/15 to eight within the last year.

The statistics released today run from April 1, 2015, to March 31, 2016.

Cases of drug trafficking have risen slightly from 219 incidents to 230 this year, while possession of drugs has fallen by 23 per cent from 1,593 to 1,221, meaning drug related offences have actually decreased by 19 per cent overall.

Violent crime has shown a significant jump from 5,004 incidents in Oxfordshire recorded in 2014/15, up to 7,161 this year, an increase of 43 per cent.

Sexual offences have also shown a major increase of 35 per cent, from 986 cases to 1,341.

Incidents of rape rose from 309 to 456 (47 per cent) and other sexual offences from 677 to 885 (30 per cent).

LPA commander for South and Vale, Supt Rory Freeman, said: “Despite 2015/16’s slight rise, there were still 5,070 fewer crimes reported in the area than 10 years ago, which is positive.

“I can understand that the rise last year may be concerning for the community but I’d like to take the opportunity to explain that the increase in recorded crime is largely attributable to more accurate recording of crime.

“My focus now is to see crime fall across the LPA by continuing to work with the public and our partners to prevent crime occurring and by ensuring that those that do offend face justice.”

The biggest increase for an Oxfordshire LPA came from Cherwell and West Oxfordshire where all crime rose from 10,401 to 11,698, a 12.5 per cent jump.

South and Vale saw a slightly smaller rise of 10.9 per cent, from 8,655 recorded crimes in one year to 9,601.

The Oxford city LPA showed the smallest rise of the county’s policing areas, rising only 2.6 per cent from 13,718 to 14,081 recorded crimes.

LPA commander for Cherwell and West Oxfordshire, Supt Kath Lowe, said: “We have worked hard again this year to keep crime across the area as low as possible.

“Overall crime in the area is up. This is because of an increase in violent crime. This increase has been seen across the country and is due to us identifying and recording these crimes better.

“Our task now is to identify ways we can reduce violent crime, targeting problem areas or people.

“We have also seen an increase in reports of sexual offences. Again, this mirrors the national picture.  People now feel more confident in telling us about these crimes, trusting that we can and will investigate them sensitively and effectively.”