Stalking and harassment cases surge across Liverpool, as violent crime increases

Merseyside Police recorded 22,223 incidents of violent crime in Liverpool over 12 months.

Violent crime has risen in Liverpool over the last year, despite a decrease in overall recorded crime across England and Wales.

Merseyside Police recorded 22,223 incidents of violent crime in Liverpool in the 12 months to June, according to the Office for National Statistics.

That was an increase of 14% compared to the previous year.

At 44.4 crimes per 1,000 people, that was far higher than the rate across England and Wales, which stood at 31.6.

One of the main factors behind the increase in Liverpool was the rise in stalking and harassment, which rose by 37%, from 5,131 incidents to 7,028.

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Offences of violence without injury were recorded 9,553 times, an increase of 16% on the previous year, and violence with injury on 5,626 occasions, down by 7%.

There were seven homicides, which include murders and manslaughters, up by one on the previous 12 months.

Offences across England and Wales

Around 5.8 million offences were recorded across England and Wales in the year to June – in line with the previous year – though there was a 3% decrease to 4.9 million offences when excluding fraud and computer misuse.

Nick Stripe, head of crime statistics at the ONS, said the figures showed overall reductions in the reporting and recording of many crime types during periods of lockdown.

However, reports of fraud and hacking continued to rise – something the ONS previously suggested was due to criminals taking advantage of behavioural changes during the pandemic, while many took to online shopping amid lockdowns when there were restrictions on movement.

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Crimes across Liverpool

The total number of offences in Liverpool increased by 3%, with police recording 59,821 crimes over the course of the year.

This puts the overall crime rate at 119.5 per 1,000 people, compared to a national average of 81.3.

Other crimes recorded in Liverpool included:

1,527 sexual offences, a rise of 10%, 13,678 theft offences, down 18%, 5,651 incidents of criminal damage and arson, up slightly, 6,861 drug offences, down slightly, 602 possession of weapons such as firearms or knives, down 10%, 7,394 public order offences, up 28%.

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The ONS figures show 61,158 rapes were recorded across England and Wales in the 12 months to June – the highest recorded annual figure to date, and up by 10% from 55,779 the year before.

The second-highest number of sexual offences was also recorded over the period (164,763) – an 8% increase on the previous year.

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The ONS urged caution when interpreting the data.

Mr Stripe added: “The rise could be due to an increase in victim reporting as lockdowns eased, an increase in the number of victims, or to an increase in victims’ willingness to report incidents, potentially as a result of high-profile cases and campaigns in recent times.”

Jeffrey DeMarco, assistant director at the charity Victim Support, said: “Much more needs to be done urgently to tackle both these offences and to ensure that those who come forward and report them are able to access justice.”

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Merseyside Police has been contacted for a comment.