Crime continues to fall in borough

CRIME has fallen in Coleraine, according to official figures released this week, with personal robberies showing the largest percentage drop.

During the second quarter of this year the total number of reported crimes fell by nearly two percent, which represents 18 fewer victims compared to the same period last year.

The announcement was made by the borough’s top cop, Area Commander Nicky Thompson, at a District Policing Partnership meeting on Monday of this week.

He revealed that a change in tactics to employ better community involvement had been responsible for the positive figures which included a decline of 50% in serious sexual offences and 100% in robberies of personal property.

Speaking at the August meeting, held in Garvagh, Chief Inspector Thompson described the 1.8% overall drop as a “welcome part of a continuing downward trend” but noted that the decrease was “not as large as in previous years”.

“We are continuing to provide a personal, professional and protective service to the community,” he told Partnership members.

However, a greater level of community “engagement” which included meeting face-to-face with residents and launching the PSNI’s own North Coast Facebook Site, was already having “a direct and positive impact” on how the police do business.

“We are continually seeking new ways to engage and communicate with our communities and in April we launched the PSNI North Coast Facebook page in an effort to embrace the Social Media revolution,” said the Chief Inspector.

“The Facebook page supplements information which is already available on the PSNI website and other methods of engagement such as community meetings, street briefings and so on...”

Describing the Facebook page as an opportunity to engage more closely with Coleraine residents, he went on to say: “The purpose behind the Facebook initiative is not to be “trendy” but to offer an opportunity for members of our community who would not normally engage with us to do so in a way which is familiar for them.

Covering the period April 1st to July 3rd this year, the statistics recorded drops in sexual offences (-34.8%), theft (-24.5%), shoplifting (-11.4%) criminal damage (2.8%) and drug offences (-25.4%).

Of those areas to buck the trend, only violent crime against the person and burglary were worrying, showing marked increases of 2.7% and 27.5% respectively.

The recorded crime figures released at the DPP meeting, sometimes referred to as notifiable offences, detail those crimes, offences and attempts recorded by local police which are deemed to fall into one of three categories of seriousness: indictable crown cases, hybrid “triable-either-way” in crown or magistrates’ court and summary offences which are less serious and always dealt with at Magistrates’ Court.