CRIME on Merseyside has fallen by more than 40% over the last five years.
Statistics released by the Home Office today show significant reductions in violence, car crime and criminal damage.
However, reports of sex crimes have increased by almost 35%.
Police say this is because a new rape investigation unit is encouraging more victims to come forward.
Assistant Chief Constable Helen King said: "I am pleased to report that crime has again fallen here on Merseyside which means that fewer people have been victims and our towns and city remain safe places to live in, work and visit.
"For the past five years we have seen continual reductions amounting to over 69,000 fewer offences since 2005 and we remain committed to doing all we can to provide the best possible policing service to the people of Merseyside.”
She said it is “positive News
” that in Merseyside, incidents of violence are lower than the national average.
Local data shows a 10% drop in reports of violence compared to 7.9% nationally.
Ms King continued: “This is reflective of the hard work and dedication of our officers and partners in reducing this violent crime in our communities with a wide-range of initiatives to tackle alcohol and drug-related violence."
A statement from police says that following the formation in 2010 of a dedicated rape investigation “Unity” team, in which specialist detectives work alongside expert Crown Prosecution Service lawyers to build cases, the number of sex crimes reported to police has continued to rise.
Ms King said: "Although we recognise the devastating impact a sexual offence can have on the victim we are encouraged by this continued increased as we do not want victims to suffer in silence.
“Sexual offences have historically been vastly under-reported in the UK but by providing a dedicated support service to victims, we are seeing more cases reach court and more offenders prosecuted.
"This in turn builds confidence in other victims who see justice being done and are courageous enough to tell the police what has happened to them.”
The number of drink-drivers arrested in Merseyside during the Christmas and New Year crackdown is to be revealed by police tomorrow.
Home Office statistics show that in the 12 months to September, 2011, compared with the same period in 2009/10, total crime fell by 3.1% in Merseyside.
Violence fell by 10%
Criminal damage down by 11.6%
Vehicle crime down 10.9%
Reports of sexual offences up by 34.9%
THE WIRRAL NEWS