VIOLENT crime in the Horsham district has soared over the past year, according to official police data.
Chief Inspector Sharon Parker, Horsham district policing commander, told the County Times that at the end of February 2012 ‘there had been 48 more incidents than in the previous 12 month period’.
Figures from the online crime mapping system - www.police.uk - also revealed an increase in burglary and robbery when comparing last February to February 2011.
However, the number of anti-social behaviour incidents fell dramatically from 101 in 2011 to 72 this year.
Horsham police say that violent crime does not mean incidents resulting in injury - as it is commonly misconstrued.
Harassment, public order offences and possession of a weapon would all be recorded under the umbrella term.
An increase in the reporting of crime by the public has also contributed to the rise - something widely encouraged by Sussex Police officers, especially when dealing with victims of domestic abuse.
Changes to internal crime reporting procedures also account for the increase according to police. One incident may receive ten reports, which are all logged as a separate number they claim.
CI Sharon Parker said: “There has been a small rise in violent crimes over the past year, but this is from a very low base.
“At the end of February there had been 48 more incidents than in the previous 12 month period.
“This is mostly due to an increase in reporting of domestic assaults and an increase in SIA reports from licensed premises.
“While a rise isn’t desirable, I am reassured that victims of domestic assault are showing greater confidence in reporting and I would encourage anyone else to do so. Their reports will be taken seriously and dealt with sensitively.”
Horsham District Council has released the following advice for domestic abuse victims: “If you are being threatened or physically or sexually assaulted by someone you live with, that is domestic abuse.
“Domestic abuse is controlling and aggressive behaviour and includes all kinds of physical, sexual and emotional abuse within all kinds of intimate relationships. Domestic abuse is often used to maintain power and control over another person.”
It continues: “There are no easy solutions. But there are some steps you can take to protect yourself and/or your children.
“There are people who will listen without judging you and simply offer advice. You can discuss the issue of violence against you safe in knowledge that the discussion will be treated in confidence.
“Many women or men stay in a violent relationship because they fear that there is nowhere else to go. The first steps are to talk to someone who can give you information and advice.”
A list of HDC recommended domestic abuse help contacts include: National Domestic Violence Helpline -0808 2000247; Shelterline - 0808 8004444; Samaritans - 08457 909090; Victim Support Line - 01403 750450; Rights of Women - 0207 2516577; Horsham DV Drop-in - 07961 022442 and; Sussex Police - 0845 6070999.