New research suggests people living in well off areas have been the main beneficiaries of Britain’s falling crime rate – while those living in poorer parts of the country have seen far smaller reductions.
An analysis of crime rates for the Spectator Magazine found that there was a direct correlation between the rate at which crime has been falling in recent years and incomes.
The crime rate in England and Wales is at its lowest level since the 1980s. From its peak in the mid 1990s surveyed crime is down by two-thirds and crime recorded by the police has dropped by a fifth over the last ten years. But behind the headline figures the research revealed huge inequalities in crime rates between the richest and poorest parts of the country.
It found that across 7,040 areas surveyed between 2011 and 2014 alone, crime had fallen 8 per cent. But the richest areas saw a 12 per cent reduction in crime rates compared with a reduction of only 3 per cent in the poorest. It also highlighted that the poorest 10 per cent of areas had a crime rate 83 per cent higher than the richest, between May 2014 and April 2015.
Declan Clowry, who carried out the research, said he believed it was the first time anyone had looked at the correlation between the wealth of an area and crime reduction.
“Much fuss is made about financial inequality, but what about inequality of crime,” he wrote. “It’s a question that has never been properly answered."
“The difference between the richest and poorest is particularly stark.. Evidently whatever has caused crime to fall recently has been disproportionately effective in places where wealth is concentrated, leaving people living in poorer neighbourhoods behind.”
A Home Office source said that Mr Clowry had based his study on police recorded crime rather than the National Crime Survey which is broadly seen as a more accurate measure. They added that using these figures crime reduction in 20 per cent most deprived areas was broadly similar to crime reduction in the most affluent areas.