Crime statistics for Chiltern, broken down by the four sub-areas Chesham, Amersham, the Chalfonts and the Missendens, are available and updated monthly on the Police.UK website.
To explore local Crime Map data for your locality, click on a map below (opens in new window):
Below we take some of this data and present it in graphical form. We update it ahead of each priority setting cycle, and hope that it will be helpful as guidance in priority setting surveys and meetings. There are limitations, though. Crimes are placed in 14 categories which do not mirror the community-based concerns in our survey. Also, data relating to speeding and parking are not captured, and our surveys tell us every quarter that these are matters of particular concern to residents. Similarly, another category of high concern, cyber crime and fraud, is recorded elsewhere. Nonetheless, we feel it provides useful context.
Overall reported crime trends by area, 2016-2020
Overall reported crime in each area is around recent highs. In absolute terms, this is driven by continuing increases in Violence and Sexual Assault in particular, and to a lesser extent, Public Order offences and the seasonal increase in Anti-Social behaviour. In recent months, Burglaries have been at or close to historic lows.
The overall number of crimes by district should, of course, be considered alongside the populations of each area. Chesham & Villages has a population of around 30,000, twice that of the Missendens. Amersham is around 24,000, and the Chalfonts a similar figure. It is not surprising, therefore, to see these areas ranked in this order.
Incidences of Crime ranked by Category
Below we show incidences of reported crime ranked by category in the 12 months to September 2020. Violence against a person including sexual offences tend to be the most prevalent form of crime. Anti-social behaviour generally ranks highly, though technically not a crime. To an extent this is because these are ‘catch-all’ categories: ‘violence against a person’ can include everything from name-calling to murder; anti-social behaviour also covers a lot of offences and behaviours. ‘Other theft’ includes theft from a person, robbery, bicycle theft, shoplifting – in fact all theft outside those reported as Burglary.
It is a good thing that Drugs and Weapons Possession are consistently towards the bottom of the list. The fact that Drugs in particular tends to rank higher in our priority surveys reflects the fear of these things, the potential harm they can cause, and the fact that they can be triggers for other forms of crime.
Reported Burglaries, 2017-2020
Burglary is regularly the greatest concern expressed within the Priority surveys, and has therefore been a ‘top 3’ priority since the inception of Chiltern Community Forum. There is GOOD NEWS on this score: in the Police reporting year to end-March 2020, there was a pleasing 1% reduction in total Burglaries compared to the prior year. Burglary numbers been below trend during the lockdown, and in June and July were at or close to historic lows.
News post August 5th: Further reduction in Burglary Numbers
Reported Drug Crimes, 2017-2020
We are fortunate that reported drug crimes within Chiltern are relatively low. To judge from survey comments, this would not necessarily chime with the sentiment of some residents. And with drug and alcohol abuse frequently being a causatory factor for other crimes, Drug Dealing and Misuse has regularly been made a top 3 priority. We were told to expect the crime numbers to rise as a result of greater enforcement, and we hope that this is what is reflected in the rise in stats over the past 18 months or so.
Antisocial Behaviour Trends, 2016-2020
There is a distinct seasonal pattern to reported Antisocial Behaviour crimes. This suggests that loutish behaviour tends to increase with longer daylight hours. Whilst anti-social behaviour is not a crime per se, it has a real effect on victims and the community. Often people become repeat victims and require support from the police and partner agencies. Anti-social behaviour also leads to other offences such as Criminal Damage and Assault.
It is important, if you are concerned about anti-social behaviour, particularly of a repeated nature, that you REPORT incidences to the Police, and not simply vent frustation on social media.
News post August 7th: The Importance of reporting Crime and Bad Behaviour
Other Crime Categories
Public Order Offences, 2016-2020
The graph of reported public order offences makes for slightly disconcerting viewing. One the one hand, it seems to share some of the seasonal characteristics of AntiSocial Behaviour. But on the other hand, during 2020 there is a sharp upward trend – possibly COVID-related?
Reported Violence and Sexual Assault Crimes, 2017-2020
Violence and Sexual Assault tends to be the most frequently reported crime, and covers a range of incidents. It is concerning to see a general trend upwards in numbers, with a lockdown dip in April, but continuing the upward trend since. A great deal of publicity was given to the potential for domestic abuse during lockdown, and it is very likely that this is under reported.
Reported Weapon Possession Crimes, 2017-2020
Chiltern does not have an epidemic of weapons possession, but Knife Crime was made a priority in November 2018 to encourage prevention and education work with young people and in schools. It was replaced as a top 3 priority in February 2019 while the rest of the UK was being put on red alert for knife crime. This was an informed decision, reflecting evidence of the previous 3 months, work being done particularly by Schools and Youth Liaison Officer PC Claire Annison, and force-wide initiatives. Of course, it is important not to be complacent…