Crime has fallen over the last year in Preston, official police records reveal.
Lancashire Constabulary recorded 10,348 offences in Preston in the 12 months to June, according to the Office for National Statistics.
That was a decrease of 12 per cent compared to the previous year, when there were 11,800.
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At 71.8 crimes per 1,000 people, that was lower than the rate across England and Wales, which stood at 81.3.
Crimes recorded in Preston included:
* 309 sexual offences, a decrease of 18 per cent
* 4,125 violent offences, a decrease of eight per cent
* 1,197 incidents of criminal damage and arson, down two per cent
* 283 drug offences, down three per cent
* 171 possession of weapons such as firearms or knives, up six per cent
* 885 public order offences, down 19 per cent
* 3,002 theft offences, down 21 per cent
* 1,369 stalking and harassment offences, up 14 per cent
Around 5.8m offences were recorded across England and Wales in the year to June – in line with the previous year – though there was a three per cent decrease to 4.9m offences when excluding fraud and computer misuse.
Nick Stripe, head of crime statistics at the ONS, said the figures showed overall reductions in the reporting and recording of many crime types during periods of lockdown.
However, reports of fraud and hacking continued to rise – something the ONS previously suggested was due to criminals taking advantage of behavioural changes during the pandemic, while many took to online shopping amid lockdowns when there were restrictions on movement.
But the figures show 61,158 rapes were recorded across England and Wales in the 12 months to June – the highest recorded annual figure to date, and up by 10 per cent from 55,779 the year before.
The second-highest number of sexual offences was also recorded over the period (164,763) – an eight per cent increase on the previous year.
The ONS urged caution when interpreting the data.
Mr Stripe added: “The rise could be due to an increase in victim reporting as lockdowns eased, an increase in the number of victims, or to an increase in victims’ willingness to report incidents, potentially as a result of high-profile cases and campaigns in recent times.”
Jeffrey DeMarco, assistant director at the charity Victim Support, said: “Much more needs to be done urgently to tackle both these offences and to ensure that those who come forward and report them are able to access justice.”