CRIME is at its lowest in recent history with an average of less than 600 crimes a month for the first ever time in Hartlepool.
The number of offences reported in Hartlepool fell by 2.3 per cent to 7,189 during the last financial year.
There were 167 fewer crimes than in the 12 months before, which Hartlepool Superintendent Glenn Gudgeon has called an “excellent achievement” during the current economic climate.
The District Commander said he was particularly pleased witha 13.4 per cent reduction in house burglaries, down 56 crimes from 419 to 363.
But there were rises in violent offences, up 0.8 per cent, criminal damage, up 7.6 per cent, and thefts, which rose by 0.2 per cent.
Robberies also rose 17.9 per cent, a rise of just five incidents, while the theft of vehicles and those being taken without consent fell sharply by 26.3 per cent.
Superintendent Gudgeon said the overall fall in crime is down to the work of the organisations involved with the Safer Hartlepool Partnership.
Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond, who is chairman of the Partnership, added that he is “delighted” with the drops but warned that big challenges lie ahead.
Supt Gudgeon told the Mail: “I’m really pleased with how our partners have come together at this time of significant budget cuts, and I think everyone from the Safer Hartlepool Partnership needs to be recognised, it’s not just about us.
“There are many organisations working hard to make the town a safer place to live, such as probation, the council, health, education, housing and fire to name but a few.”
Metal theft proved a big challenge during the period of April 2011 to March this year as crooks began stripping houses, businesses, roads and railways of metal they could weigh in at scrapyards for quick cash.
Supt Gudgeon said the rise in criminal damage and thefts are due to the sudden rise in people targeting valuable metals, but a number of operations have got the situation under control.
He added: “It caught everyone out but we were quick to respond and have taken a proactive approach to stop these crimes.
“In relation to robberies, we have also been active in taking knives off the streets and identifying potential robbers.”
Mr Drummond said the police have led the successes, but a range of organisations have been involved in cutting crime.
“But all the experts say that in times of recession and hardship crime goes up,” he added.
“We are acutely aware of the potential challenges ahead and will try to continue along the same road with far less resources.”
And Mayor Drummond says the results send a message to whoever is elected as Cleveland’s first police crime commissioner on November 15.
They will replace the Cleveland Police Authority, of which he is chairman, and will have the power to hire and fire chief constables and control of the force’s budget.
He added: “This sends a powerful message to whoever is elected that our system in Hartlepool works and no radical changes are needed.
“We will continue to work as we do so, and will hopefully have more success.”