The number of crimes fell by 3% from 9.8 million to 9.5 million last year compared with 2009.
But there was no significant change in the levels of violent crime, according to the British Crime Survey.
The number of crimes recorded by police also fell 6%, fuelled by a drop in most categories apart from sexual offences, which rose 3%.
The number of burglaries rose by 14% and bicycle thefts were up 12%, the BCS figures showed.
But the number of domestic burglaries and other burglaries recorded by police were both down by 7%.
Overall, household crime showed no change in the British Crime Survey, along with the levels of violent crime and personal crimes.
And the risk of being a victim of crime remained about the same as the previous year at 21.4%, the BCS showed.
Today's figures also showed the largest falls in crime recorded by the police were for criminal damage and offences against vehicles, down 17% and 12% respectively.
The number of firearms offences recorded by police also fell 7% in 2010 compared with the previous year.
The continued fall in crime comes ahead of next month's local elections and seemed to allay fears that acquisitive crime may be fuelled by the recession.
Chief Constable Jon Murphy, the head of crime for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), said: "The official crime statistics are showing that the risk of being a victim of crime remains at a 30-year low, and downward trends continue for most offence categories.
"Ongoing increases in sex offences, following efforts nationally to improve all areas of sex offence investigation, are also showing signs of slowing.
"We remain determined to bring to justice people who commit sex crimes and encourage victims to have the confidence to report such crimes."
He added: "We are prepared for challenging times ahead as forces continue the fight against crime with reduced budgets and resource but remain accountable to our mission to keep people safe from harm."
Rob Garnham, chairman of the Association of Police Authorities, added: "Whilst the police have made significant improvements to how they respond to sexual offences in recent years, we are concerned to note a rise in the recording of such offences for a sixth consecutive quarter.
"Police Authorities will continue to exercise their duties responsibly to maintain recent falls in crime and to minimise the impact of imminent budget cuts on public safety wherever possible."
The number of sexual offences recorded by police rose from 53,091 in 2009 to 54,602 last year, up 3%, with a 6% increase in the number of most serious sexual crimes - up to 44,693 last year, compared with 42,187 in 2009.
But other sexual offences fell by 9% to 9,909, from 10,904 in 2009.
Knife crime fell by 4% last year, from 30,560 to 29,259, largely due to falls in the number of assaults involving knives or sharp instruments.
The number of assaults causing grievous bodily harm or actual bodily harm fell by 11%, from 14,660 to 12,998.
But the number of robberies involving knives increased by 3%, from 13,908 to 14,279.
Knives were also used in 237 rapes, compared with 213 in 2009, 1,454 threats to kill, compared with 1,419 in 2009, and 200 killings, compared with 197 in 2009.
The number of attempted murders involving knives fell from 263 to 206.
All the knife crime figures exclude data from the West Midlands force, due to the way they are collected.
The BCS figures, based on interviews with tens of thousands of people, showed the proportion of adults with a high level of worry about burglary, car crime and violent crime remained the same in 2010 at 10%, 10% and 13% respectively.
And the proportion who thought there was a high level of anti-social behaviour in their area also remained largely the same, at 14% compared with 15% in 2009.
Policing and Criminal Justice Minister Nick Herbert said: "While reductions in crime are welcome, there is clearly no room for complacency.
"The public rightly remain concerned about levels of crime and particularly antisocial behaviour, and we are determined to ensure that the police have the right powers to do the job.
"We have also commissioned an independent review of crime statistics which will report in due course."
Both the BCS statistics and the recorded crime figures showed falls in the number of violent crimes resulting in injury - down 2% and 9% respectively.
It comes a day after separate figures showed the number of young children needing emergency hospital treatment after being injured by violence rose by more than 20% last year.
A total of 3,402 children up to the age of 10 were treated in accident and emergency units after violence in England and Wales in 2010, up from 2,814 the previous year, according to data supplied by the units.
Across the wider population, 37,000 fewer people were treated following violence last year compared with 2009 but the rise in the number of children being injured was "a real issue", the researchers said.
Of the 43 forces in England and Wales, West Midlands Police was the only one to record a rise in crime.
Total crime rose 1% in 2010, compared with a national fall of 6%.
Rises in the number of robberies, burglaries and fraud offences all fuelled the increase.
The number of fraud and forgery crimes rose by more than a quarter (26%), while the number of robberies rose by almost a fifth (17%).
Burglaries were up 13%, while burglaries in a dwelling rose 21% and other burglaries rose 4%.
But violent offences were down 10%, sexual offences fell 8% and drug offences were down 18%, the figures showed.