A drop in crime in Jersey – but a sharp rise in serious road casualties

Robin Smith Picture: ROB CURRIE. (37704375)

WHILE 2022 saw lower overall crime rates and the lowest number of burglaries on record, the police force also saw an increase in sexual offences and serious injuries from road-traffic collisions compared to previous years.

The latest figures outlining the Island’s crime rates have been published in the States of Jersey Police 2022 annual report.

In the document’s foreword, police chief Robin Smith thanked officers and Islanders who helped to maintain low crime levels.

In particular, he praised the response of staff to the sinking of the trawler L’Ecume II and the explosion that destroyed a block of flats at Haut du Mont in December 2022.

He said: “The world of policing and community safety is always changing and, as an organisation, we constantly seek out the best ways to respond and adapt to new challenges.

“Low levels of crime and high levels of public confidence in community safety – key to making our Island such a great place to live – are proof of the difference you make.”

With the exception of 2020, which saw low crime due to Covid lockdowns, 2022 marked the lowest recorded crime level since 2016.

Overall, there were 3,015 recorded crimes – a fall of 11% on the pre-pandemic 2019 and 2% on 2021.

This figure represents 29 crimes per 1,000 people – significantly lower than the recorded crime rate across England and Wales.

Research by Statistics Jersey indicated that Islanders’ perceptions of safety remained high, with an increase in those considering their neighbourhoods to be very safe between 2007 and 2022.

Domestic and business burglaries dropped to their lowest levels on record in 2022.

There were 98 burglaries reported in 2022, a significant decrease from 297 in 2012 and 127 burglaries in 2021.

Since 2012, there has been a 27% decrease in malicious damage offences, a 42% decrease in malicious damage to vehicles, and a 55% decrease in the number of vehicles stolen and driven away.

While this may suggest Jersey overall is becoming a safer place, the report said that “some [crimes] are far more harmful than others”.

On the one hand, acquisitive crimes such as burglary and fraud fell by 55%, and offences against property such as damage or theft fell by a quarter compared to 2012, according to the report.

But offences against the person have risen by over 20% in that time – accounting for about half of all Jersey’s recorded crime in 2022, according to the report.

These crimes include assaults, sexual crimes, harassment, child cruelty and neglect.

There were 974 recorded assaults in 2022, which accounted for one-third of all crimes in 2022.

Almost 30% of recorded assaults related to domestic abuse and 20% were associated with night-time violence in the streets, pubs, and clubs of St Helier.

Sexual offences have increased, with 181 recorded in 2022 compared to 136 in 2020.

The 2022 figure included 52 rapes and approximately 41 sexual offences recorded against children.

There were 1,084 domestic incidents recorded in 2022 but only 417 domestic crimes.

Of these, 282 involved physical assault together with another 32 sexual offences.

About 50% of all common or grave criminal assaults on women in Jersey are committed by a spouse or former partner.

Six “Claire’s Law” disclosures were made in 2022 to make victims or potential victims aware of a partner’s or ex-partner’s previous abusive or violent offending.

There was a sharp increase in serious casualties from road-traffic collisions in 2022.

Two people were killed in 2022 and 59 were seriously injured in road-traffic collisions, with another 186 reported as slightly injured.

A total of 79% of the serious casualties were vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians. This compares to 50% across Great Britain.

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