Society: Crime level nearly twice as high as official statistics

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The Independent Online
Crime is running at nearly twice the level suggested by official statistics, a survey claims today. Some 44 per cent of crime victims questioned for the survey - conducted by MORI for Reader's Digest - admitted that they had failed to report it to the police.

They did not do so because they did not think the police would do anything about it; had no confidence that the criminals would be caught; or because they felt the offences were too trivial.

The survey comes just days before the Home Office publishes the official figures for 1996, which are expected to show the fourth consecutive fall in the total number of offences recorded by police in England and Wales. But despite the falling figures and the tough law and order rhetoric emanating from politicians, almost 9 out of 10 people told the survey that their concern about crime had actually increased in recent years.

In a separate study, the cost of car crime is said to have hit its highest level since 1993. The insured cost of theft of and from private cars in 1996 was pounds 494m - up 14 per cent on 1995, said the Association of British Insurers.