HASTINGS and St Leonards is becoming a safer place to live after figures released this week showed crime rates falling across the board.
Total crime across the town fell by 9.1 per cent over the past 12 months compared with the year before, with 736 fewer crimes being recorded.
The most eye-catching falls were in burglaries, down 14.3 per cent, serious sexual offences, down 13.4 per cent and anti-social behaviour, down 10.6 per cent with 242 fewer incidents reported.
Violent attacks causing serious injuries were down 8.9 per cent with criminal damage and car crime also falling by similar amounts.
Domestic violence – which has been a particular scourge in this corner of 1066 Country – went down by only 0.8 per cent, but Hastings was the only district in the county to see any improvement at all in this category.
Inspector Martin Mann of Hastings Police said: “These are a positive set of reductions but more than that they are reductions on reductions, so we know we are moving in the right direction.
“We have a strong team here in Hastings with our neighbourhood police teams engaging with local communities and getting good intelligence and officers acting quickly on crimes when they are reported.
“That teamwork is good for Hastings – it’s about having the right officers in the right places at the right times.”
Insp Mann was particularly pleased with the fall in anti-social behaviour reports: “We know it has an effect on people’s lives and we will continue to do what we can to tackle it.”
These statistics represent another year-on-year fall overseen by Chief Inspector Mark Ling, who is currently suspended over allegations he sent an ‘offensive’ text message.
Cllr Godfrey Daniel, a local member of the Sussex Police Authority also welcomed the figures. “It is wonderful to see – Hastings is a lovely place to live and it’s becoming an increasingly safer place to live as well thanks not just to the police but to the many members of the community who support them,” he said.
Previously it has been claimed that falling crime figures represented a loss of public confidence in the police, but Cllr Daniel said these statistics chimes in with what he hears out and about in town. “When I go to street meetings most of the complaints are not from people scared of being mugged or robbed but about dog mess or people cycling on the pavements,” he said.
And he vowed to make sure the police are able to continue their good work despite looming job cuts and the introduction next year of an elected police commissioner.