CRIME has risen over the last year in Brighton and Hove, official police records reveal.

Sussex Police recorded 27,266 offences in Brighton and Hove in the 12 months to March, according to the Office for National Statistics.

This was an increase of 11 per cent compared to the previous year, when there were 24,517.

And, at 93.5 crimes per 1,000 people, that was higher than the rate across England and Wales, which stood at 89.3.

Of the crimes recorded in the area over the last 12 months, 1,233 were sexual offences – an increase of 33 per cent from the year before.

The Argus: Ramees AkkaraRamees Akkara

One of these sexual offences was committed by Ramees Akkara, 28, who was found guilty of rape by a jury at Hove Crown Court.

Akkara raped a student on her way home in September 2021 was caught after she made a video call and her friend recorded it.

Meanwhile, violent crime has risen in the area, from 8,570 to 9,886 over this period.

One of the main factors behind this increase was the rise in violence with injury, which rose by 22 per cent, from 2,425 incidents to 2,960.

The Argus: Ryan McLeanRyan McLean

In Portslade in February this year Ryan McLean, 39, repeatedly stabbed a man in the head with a pair of scissors before fleeing. 

He had been previously spotted chasing his victim’s car at high speed through Portslade shortly before midday, then getting out and continuing his chase on foot.

McLean pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent and possession of an offensive weapon in a public place in July.

Theft offences rose by 13 per cent, with 7,978 incidents recorded in the 12 months to March.

The Argus: Michael MurrayMichael Murray

Prolific shoplifter Michael Murray, 33, was among those who committed theft offences in this time period. 

Murray was jailed after pleading guilty to 33 counts of theft and one count of failing to comply with a community protection notice.

Thirty-one of the theft offences took place at a Co-op store in Whitehawk Road during May, June, November and December in 2021.

At 27.3 crimes per 1,000 people, that was slightly higher than the rate across England and Wales, which stood at 25.1.

Further figures for crimes recorded in Brighton and Hove included:

  • 2,580 incidents of criminal damage and arson, down nine per cent
  • 991 drug offences, down nine per cent
  • 334 possession of weapons such as firearms or knives, up one per cent
  • 3,382 public order offences, up 24 per cent
  • 2,743 stalking and harassment offences, up 14 per cent

The Argus:

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “The Office for National Statistics has stated that patterns of crime in England and Wales over the last two years have been substantially affected by the coronavirus pandemic and government restrictions on social contact. 

“Their approach has been to compare measures for the year ending March, 2022, with the pre-coronavirus year ending March 2020. 

“The report compares the Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales, which recognises that recorded crime in Brighton and Hove in fact decreased from 29,254 crime reports in the year end March, 2020, to 27,194 for the year ending March, 2022.

“This is a seven per cent decrease, compared to a four per cent increase nationally over the same periods.

“In Brighton and Hove, the more serious violent crimes (homicide, GBH, wounding with intent, etc) were reduced by 14.9 per cent.

“The Home Office crime groups of Arson and Criminal Damage, Burglary, Drug Offences, Possession of Weapons, Robbery, and Theft, all had lower recorded levels for the year ending March, 2022, compared with the pre-pandemic year ending March, 2020.

“The only Home Office crime groups in the city which showed a notable increase were reports of Sexual Offences, and Public Order offences, both of which increased by 25.6 per cent. 

“This is a lower increase than the national trend, which was 32 per cent."

The Argus:

Superintendent Rachel Carr said: “Brighton and Hove is a safe place to live, work and visit and our officers, volunteers and staff work tirelessly to combat crime across the city.

“The figures show that overall reported crime in the city has in fact decreased for the year ending March, 2022, compared to pre-pandemic levels.

“A rise in reported crime for the year ending March, 2022, mirrors the national trend as societal restrictions in place during the coronavirus pandemic were lifted.

“Much of the year March, 2020, to March, 2021, was spent under varying degrees of lockdown – including around six months of full, national lockdown – and overall crime rates fell dramatically as a result.

“As a division we carry out a huge amount of work to keep people safe, with increased patrols around areas of concern and the night-time economy, as well as ongoing initiatives with our partners in the community to tackle the root causes of crime and safeguard vulnerable people.

“We also work with multiple agencies in the Business Crime Reduction Partnership to tackle business crime across the city.

“Protecting women and girls and reducing sexual offences is a priority for the force and as a division we have carried out extensive proactive work to that end, in collaboration with community partners.

“As well as our increased, dedicated patrols, licensed venues have stepped up their security efforts, with increased searches at the door, extra training for staff, lids for cups, testing strips, on-site medics and safe spaces for people in distress.

“Taxi marshals are also in place at taxi ranks in the night-time economy to make sure vulnerable people can access transport safely after a night out and we help to operate a safe space in West Street where people in need can go for support.

“We would always encourage the public to report any crimes, concerns or suspicious activity as this allows officers to build a clear picture of the issues impacting our communities.

“Please report any crimes or concerns online, via 101 or by calling 999 in an emergency.”