THERE was a big drop in violence and weapon-carrying reported in Inverclyde but a significant rise in break-ins, according to latest figures.
The number of recorded crimes in the area in the 12 months up to the end of March, was 5,504, down slightly from 5,634 the year before.
There were 173 non-sexual crimes of violence in 2011/12, down 49 – around 20 per cent – from the total of 222 in 2010/11. There were 98 serious assaults, down 41 – a fall of almost 30 per cent -- from the total of 139 the year before.
There were 100 crimes involving the handling of offensive weapons, a reduction of a quarter compared with the previous year when the total was 135.
There was a 25 per cent rise in domestic house-breaking with 414 incidents reported compared with 333 the year before. This gave Inverclyde one of the highest rates of domestic house-breaking in Scotland, with 52 break-ins per 10,000 people behind only North Ayrshire on 56 and Glasgow on 53.
Other figures for 2011/2
Sexual offences -- 52
Crimes of dishonesty 2,281
Fire-raising, vandalism 1,497
The percentage of crimes cleared up was 48 (the Scottish average was 49 per cent)
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill welcomed the 26 per cent fall in the number of crimes involving handling an offensive weapon in Inverclyde.
Mr MacAskill said: “We have invested heavily in this area, specifically in our efforts to reduce knife crime. We have rolled out our highly successful No Knives, Better Lives education campaign in ten areas across the country to get the message across to young people about the dangers and consequences of carrying a knife, and encourage more positive life choices. Across Scotland there is fantastic work being done by local partners in delivering No Knives Better Lives and I thank everyone associated for their work, which is benefiting our communities.
“I am pleased we are seeing positive results in Inverclyde and beyond, and will continue to spread that message and work to reduce knife crime even further.
“However, there is no room for complacency. Every knife incident is one too many and there will be no let up in our efforts. We take the safety of our communities very seriously, and we will continue to support the outstanding work of our police, prosecutors and courts to bring those responsible for crime to justice.
“We have made clear that Scotland’s prosecutors and the courts have our support in using the full force of the law to punish anyone who carries or uses a knife. And the existing legislation ensures tough enforcement. You are 50 per cent more likely to be sent to prison in Scotland for knife possession than in the rest of the UK and the average sentence is nearly 75 per ent longer than in England and Wales.”