SERIOUS crime in the Sherborne and Dorchester area fell in the last 12 months, according to figures released today, Monday.
But thefts from outbuildings and alcohol-fuelled assaults last summer nudged the overall figure of reported crimes up by one per cent.
Dorchester and Sherborne Neighbourhood Inspector Steve Marsh of Dorset Police said the year ending on 15th December showed a total of 1,484 people had reported crimes.
The figure marks an increase of 15 from the previous year.
Fewer people were repeat victims of crime.
And he said there was a significant increase in the number of offenders arrested and charged.
He said: “Any rise is disappointing but I am confident we can address this rise in the coming months.
“The good news is residential burglary offences and thefts from motor vehicles continue to fall, as do our robbery figures, which are very small anyway - they are getting rarer, which is excellent.
“One of the reasons why overall crime figures have increased slightly is the increase in breaks into garden sheds and outbuildings.
“We continue to try to disrupt those committing such offences but sound prevention tactics are really the most effective solution.”
Inspector Marsh urged people to take steps to make it harder for thieves to commit crimes.
He said anyone receiving electric or petrol garden tools and equipment for Christmas should note serial numbers and ensure items are stored securely.
Inspector Marsh said there were more alcohol related assaults last summer, though the level of incidents had fallen since then.
Police were working with licensees in Dorchester and Sherborne to ensure a safe Christmas season.
And he will be increasing the number of police on duty in the town centres over the next few weekends.
He added: “This year has been particularly challenging for our force as a whole and the local police team continues to face challenges regarding demands of resources.”
He said with fewer officers available, police relied on support from the community.
He said: “Our latest victim survey figures show that 98 per cent of you feel safe and that you are treated fairly when in contact with the police.”
He described it as a good indicator of the excellent relationship between the police and the local community and thanked people for their support.
Inspector Marsh said the Dorchester and Sherborne section continued to be a safe area to live and work.
He said: “The vast majority of residents respect each other, help others when they appear in need and support all those that work to make the area such a great place to live and work.”
He described the strong community spirit and willingness to work together against the minority causing problems as the most effective crime deterrent.