Stalking, harassment and sexual offences on the up as crime figures rise in Norfolk and Suffolk

A woman being stalked by a man. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto
A woman being stalked by a man. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Alessandro de Leo

Norfolk has seen a big rise in stalking, harassment and sexual offences – partly because technology is enabling people to ?track the movements of their victims, a charity boss said.
Share[1]Mandy Proctor, chief executive of Leeway, the charity providing support to those experiencing domestic abuse. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY
The latest crime figures, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), show overall crime in Norfolk has risen by 12 per cent to 56,235 crimes recorded in the year ending March 2018. The biggest increases include stalking and harassment offences – up by 38 per cent over the past year to 3,246 crimes – and sexual offences, which have seen a 26 per cent rise to 2,174 crimes.

Mandy Proctor, chief executive of Norfolk-based domestic abuse charity Leeway, said: “The increase in stalking and sexual offences evidences that they are very important issues that need to be addressed. “Technology has become a lot more readily available, which is undoubtedly a contributing factor to the number of stalking cases increasing. “There are many social media apps that have location features on, which allows the user to track where they are and what they are doing.

“This also means ?that others can be tracked also when using these features. “The “Me Too” movement has been great at raising awareness of sexual harassment and abuse. It is important that we continue to challenge this behaviour and empower people to come forward and access support.”

She added: “It is good that there is an increase in people feeling confident enough to report cases, however there are many more people who still do not report until the risk escalates to a serious risk of harm to them or their families. “Leeway is supportive of a stalking register, which would help police to monitor the behaviour of known offenders.” Over the past 12 months burglaries (up by 10 per cent to 4,012) and vehicle offences (up by 15 per cent to 2,733) have also risen in Norfolk although there have been reductions in some areas.

Theft from person ?crimes are down by ?4 per cent to 552 offences, bike thefts have fallen ?by 2 per cent to 1,423 ?crimes and shopliftings ?are down 6 per cent to ?4,403 crimes.

Recorded crime in Suffolk is also on the up with a total number of 53,116 recorded crimes over the 12 month period – a rise of 15 per cent.


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