Crime influences every aspect of our lives, from where we live and where we send our children to school to how we vote and the taxes we pay.

Most of us - if we are lucky - will never experience serious crime such as murder, rape or robbery.

We are more likely to be touched by less serious crimes such as vandalism, theft and criminal damage, sometimes on a day-to-day basis.

But those who are hit with the most terrifying offences can suffer from a trauma which will live with them for ever.

The Government claims crime figures are falling - now readers of The Argus will be able to see for themselves.

The crime figures - released under the Freedom of Information Act - we will be publishing throughout this week show no corner of the county remains untouched by crime.

In 2005 and 2006 there were 130,000 offences committed in district wards across Sussex. No ward, no matter how small or sparsely populated, was crime free.

On Saturday we will show readers exactly how many crimes, and what type of crimes, were committed in their ward over the 12-month period from April 1, 2005, to March 31, 2006 - and the corresponding period a year before.

The statistics provide an eye-opening insight into the places we think we know well.

Crimes are broken down into the following categories: violence against a person, murder, offensive weapons, robbery, domestic burglary, drug offences, vehicle theft, theft and handling, criminal damage, firearms and the total number of crimes.

Overall crime in Sussex fell by 3,000 offences last year but violent attacks and car thefts increased.

The most prolific crime was theft and handling, with a staggering 46,684 offences. There were 26,540 violent attacks - up 773 on the 2004-05 figures.

Superintendent Graham Bartlett, of Sussex Police, said: "All crime is down except violent crime and drug crime.

"Violent crime figures are up because of the way we record crimes. We intervene early on by issuing fixed penalty notices for low-level violent crimes which might include someone raising a fist or shouting and swearing.

"The number of high-level crimes, such as bottlings and stabbings, is down."

He said the drug figures increase could be explained by police tackling both drug users and dealers.

Supt Bartlett said: "Our drugs strategy is to intervene and target not just the dealers but the users too. We try to get them into rehabilitation. We tackle supply and demand."

Nick Herbert, Tory MP for Arundel and shadow minister for police reform, said: "Antisocial behaviour is a big concern and is too high and the public want something more done about it.

"We have to ask how do you do that and do we have sufficient resources to deal with more serious crime?

"I don't think it will be possible to deliver a statistical change in the fight against crime without a significantly greater police presence on the streets and action to tackle bureaucracy."

The worst ward in the county for crime was Regency in Brighton.

It topped the league table in every one of our crime categories except criminal damage and firearms.

In East Sussex, Devonshire ward in Eastbourne had the highest number of crimes and Northgate ward in Crawley was the worst crime ward in West Sussex.

Yousif Ibrahim runs West Pier News in the Regency ward. He has witnessed a man being stabbed with a broken bottle, ex-perienced shoplifting and, earlier this year, was terrorised by a gang of youngsters.

Mr Ibrahim said: "The worst time we had was with the youths. About 15 of them would come into the shop and steal. We banned them from coming and they would throw eggs at the shop and harass us.

One night they had sticks and were walking over to us. The police came and they left. The problems I had have stopped now. The police and my neighbours were both very helpful to me."

He added: "People do not feel as safe walking the streets as they used to. Crime affects everyone when you read about it.

"This area used to be nice and quiet but it has changed."

Supt Bartlett said: "There is no ward in the county like Regency ward. It has the highest concentration of licensed premises and shops. It also has a large transient population.

"The main targets there are drugs and alcohol. We have a robust response for Friday and Saturday nights to tackle low-level violent crime, set a tone for the city and reduce the amount of more serious violent crime.

"Youth crime and disorder is also an important area. This manifests itself in criminal damage and low-level assaults."

To see the latest crime figures in Sussex, click here.

Have you been a victim of crime? If so, how has it affected you? Add your comments below.