The number of robberies in Hartlepool has more than doubled, according to the latest police recorded crime statistics.
There were 99 robberies between April 2017 and March 2018, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) data.
That is up 115.2% on 2016-17, when 46 robberies were recorded.
Overall, crime in Hartlepool recorded by police went up by 19% with 10,757 total incidents.
That translates to a rate of 116 crimes per 1,000 residents, above the England and Wales average of 82.
Weapon possession offences rose by 20 to 73 incidents and theft increased by 19%. But drugs related offences dropped by 12.4%.
Cleveland Police’s own figures vary slightly from the ONS’s with 100 robberies, overall crime up 20.9% and theft up by 32.7%.
Hartlepool MP Mike Hill says police budget cuts and fewer officers on the street are to blame for the increases.
He said: “It’s clearly obvious that if you cut police budgets and reduce the number of police men and women on the streets you lose the capacity to deal with criminals and crime rates will go up.
“Cleveland Police has seen its budget slashed since 2011, resulting in a loss of over 500 officers.
“Our communities are crying out for safer streets and more bobbies on the beat, and these figures underline the points they are making.”
Chief Inspector Nigel Burnell, from Hartlepool Community Safety Team, said much of the overall increase is due to a drive to improve the accuracy of crime recording.
He said: “We have however seen genuine increases in specific areas, for example in the area of robbery there has been an increase both locally and across the whole force area.
“Across Cleveland robbery has increased by 31%, or approximately two crimes per week. This figure is unwelcome and one victim is too many, however, reassuringly the rate of detecting offenders for robberies in Hartlepool is high.
“Over a quarter of robberies in Hartlepool are detected and those people are put before the courts.
“We are constantly looking at the reasons as to why crime rises so that we can tackle such offending at source and reduce it.
“We continue to strive to provide a professional, high quality service for our communities despite reduced resources.”