Credit crunch could cause crime chaos

PUBLISHED: 07:27 06 November 2008 | UPDATED: 14:48 20 April 2010

CRIME could increase this Christmas as the credit crunch takes its toll on residents.

CRIME could increase this Christmas as the credit crunch takes its toll on residents. Axminster's Sergeant David Sheldrake warned the previous trend of a quiet January period could change in the current climate. Police figures for 2008 show that January was the quietest month for crime, with only 12 incidents reported. This compared to an average of 35 in busier months. Sgt Sheldrake said: "January tends to be quiet as people don't go out as much after Christmas or New Year because they've spent all their money. "But maybe the credit crunch will change this and show some increase in crime if people are hard up. Of course there are a variety of reasons for crime - drink related, to fund drugs. Drugs are usually associated with crimes of dishonesty." He said theft of scrap metal and diesel had already increased. He said: "With the run-up to Christmas, we would ask the public to be sensible and not leave stuff on display - lock it out of sight in the car or home. Make sure the property is secure before you leave. At home, leave a light on so it looks like someone is home." Other crimes have also risen this year, with a large discrepancy showing between the town and rural areas. There were a total of 174 reported crimes in the town neighbourhood, compared with just 119 in the rural area - a 32 per cent difference. Violent crime in rural Axminster has almost doubled since last year, with 14 reported incidents compared with nine in 2007. Yet the figures pale compared to findings in the town, with 41 incidents reported, up by nearly eight per cent on last year's 38. However, non domestic burglary dropped overall in the area by 18 per cent and house burglary dropped in the rural area from eight to five, a 37 per cent decrease. But house burglary more than doubled in the town neighbourhood from four to nine. Although still prevalent with a total of 60 reported incidents, criminal damage dropped by over a third on last year's 92. Sgt Sheldrake said the figures were not always a true indicator of crime as not all crime was reported. He urged people to come forward with any concerns they might have. He added that Axminster was generally a safe area, particularly compared to other parts of the country. He said: "We are living in a remarkably safe part of the country and I don't want people to be over-worried when statistics show it's quite safe.

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