Volume 93, Issue 67

Friday, January 28, 2000


NEWS

Monaco drops from prez race

Forum profits from Millionaire

French's courageous mother visits campus

London police say city's crime rate is on the rise

Brown down with the people

Accessibility tops Chiba's priorities

What councellors won't tell you

Bass Ackwards

London police say city's crime rate is on the rise



By Tola Afolabi
Gazette Staff

A rise of crime in the City of London has police gearing up, but critics are wary of any hasty action.

Const. Tracey Frizell, media relations officer with the London Police, confirmed crime rates had increased from 1998 to 1999, but added police could not pinpoint why it had occurred.

She said reported cases of sexual assault increased from 245 to 263, cases of robbery jumped from 173 to 219, break-ins increased to 3,512 from 2,886 and auto theft went from 2,172 to 2,533.

London deputy mayor Anne-Marie DeCicco, who also sits on the London Police Board, cited a decline in the number of police officers as part of the problem. "We had more people retire than we could have thought," she said.

While DeCicco could not specify the exact number, she said new officers were currently in training and would be on the streets by this summer.

DeCicco explained the police were monitoring fluctuations in the crime rate carefully. "We always try to be as proactive as we can possibly be. We follow the trends very carefully."

Peter Chimbos, professor of criminology at Brescia, said the increased crime rates were insignificant. "We need an upward statistical trend of at least three years before we can make any definite conclusions about crime increase. One year is not enough," he said.

Peter Barton, a Western law professor, also dismissed the rise, stating the police budget is determined by the crime rate. "It's in [the police's] interest to report a rising crime rate."

Several factors, such as demographic changes, play a role in crime rates, Chimbos said. He explained there may have been an increase in the 16-25 year-old population. "The more youngsters you have in the community, the higher the so-called crime rate."

Chimbos added the public plays a key role in the crime rate, since citizens only report approximately 90 per cent of the crimes used for statistics. "It is possible that citizens in 1999 reported more of these crimes [than in 1998]," he said.




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