Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Region Is Now More Peaceful - Study; Violent Crime Has Fallen by Third in Last 10 Years

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Region Is Now More Peaceful - Study; Violent Crime Has Fallen by Third in Last 10 Years

Article excerpt

Byline: Michael Brown? 0191 201 6342 ? m.brown@ncjmedia.co.uk

RESEARCHERS claim the North East is a more "peaceful" place to live, as violent crime has plummeted by almost a third in a decade.

Steve Killelea, founder of the Institute for Economics and Peace, said a combination of better police technology and less drinking in pubs and clubs was helping to drive down the most serious offences.

But the first-ever UK Peace Index (UKPI) suggests there is still some way for the region to go - though getting top politicians to clean the streets might help.

"In the North East, homicides are down just under 20% and violent crime is down around 27%," said Mr Killelea, who's group analysed Home Office figures. "And that may be because it is now a lot more difficult to be a criminal and get away with it.

"CCTV cameras are everywhere, and with many homes and businesses having alarms it makes some of them 'burglar proof' to all but the most experienced criminals.

"And, coupled to the police's ability to share information, it is helping to reduce crime, despite a near 10% reduction in officers."

However, the report claims crime is costing Britain in the region of PS124bn a year, with tens of billions going to pay for the penal system, the judiciary and policing, injuries caused through violent crime, the lost productivity of victims left unable to work, and the knock-on effect that has on the economy. And, according to the study, while violent crime is down, public disorder has risen in the North East by more than a quarter.

"The UKPI clearly indicates that the UK has become substantially more peaceful in the past decade, but it also shows that further improvements in peace would generate billions of pounds in extra economic activity," said Mr Killelea, who claims that a 9% drop in violent crime nationally would save Britain PS11bn - enough to pay for the Olympics. …

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