Violent crime has soared to a new record high in the West Midlands - with 193 acts of violence recorded each day.

West Midlands Police recorded a total of 70,507 cases of violence against the person in 2018 - the highest number since records began in 2007.

The number of serious crimes involving knives or other sharp objects was also at its highest level for any single year since 2011.

The number of violence against the person offences recorded in 2018 is up 29% compared to 2017, and is an increase of 57% from 2007.

The figures for 2018 include 50 homicides.

There were also 30,561 cases involving violence that caused injury, a rise of 13% compared to 2017, and 24,861 cases of violence without injury, a rise of 32%, a record high.

Last year, 3,210 serious offences in West Midlands involved a knife or sharp object.

That was up 17% from 2017, and up 6% from April 2010 to March 2011 when the figures were first recorded.

The knife-crimes included 22 homicides, 50 attempted murders, and 25 rapes and sexual assaults.

There were also 1,258 assaults with injury or with intent to cause serious harm that involved knives or sharp objects, as well as 1,764 robberies and 91 threats to kill.

Overall, West Midlands police recorded 2,281 possession of weapon offences in 2018, up 28% compared to a year before.

Stalking and harassment cases are at record levels, with 15,002 cases recorded in West Midlands in 2018.

That is an increase of 67% in just a year - although this may be in part due to changes in the law and better recording.

West Midlands Police officers.
West Midlands Police officers.

The number of sexual offences reported was also at record levels, with 7,016 cases recorded in 2018, up 15% compared to a year before.

Overall, there were 252,689 crimes recorded in West Midlands in 2018, up 11% from 2017.

This works out as 87 crimes per 1,000 people living in the area, lower than the national average of 88 crimes per 1,000 people across England and Wales as a whole.

The figures are based on newly-published recorded crime figures for police forces across the country.

They showed, nationally, there was a 6% increase in crimes involving a knife or sharp instrument, with a total of 40,829 offences in 2018.

This figure excludes Greater Manchester Police, as the force has changed their methodology after identifying an undercount of crimes involving a knife or sharp instrument.

West Midlands Police

Homicides also rose by 6% - or 12% if the London and Manchester terrorist attacks are excluded.

 

Robbery was up by 11%, while burglaries were down by 3%.

Today also saw the publication of the Crime Survey for England and Wales, which measures crime in a different way - by asking people whether they have experienced crime during the year.

That suggested the number of low-harm violent offences had not changed.

The survey - which includes crimes that may not have been reported to the police - suggested theft had risen by 8% in 2018, and sexual assault by 0.7%.

 

Alexa Bradley from the ONS Centre for Crime and Justice said: “When we look at the overall level of crime, there has been no significant change over the last year.

“However, it is important to look at each crime type separately because the picture is very mixed. Even within crime types we have seen differences.

“Robbery and vehicle offences have increased whereas burglary has decreased. Lower-volume high-harm violence involving knives has risen, whereas offences involving firearms have decreased.”