Murder rate lowest for nearly 30 years

The homicide rate in England and Wales fell by 14% during 2011-2012

The figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the number of murders committed is at its lowest level since 1983.

The drop was part of an overall reduction in recorded crime, which the 2011-2012 crime survey for England and Wales showed to be down by 4%. Violent crime in general was down 7%, while more specifically robberies were down 2%, knife crime by 5% and gun crime by 16%. There was also a fall in incidences of antisocial behaviour.

There was however, a 2% rise in property crimes including pickpocketing and theft of unattended wallets and mobile phones, as well as thefts from garden sheds and of commercial materials such as metal.

John Flatley, head of crime statistics at ONS suggested that the falling murder rates were due to a long-term decrease in domestic violence, which has dropped 40% since 1995. “More than two thirds of homicides are committed by partners, expartners or other family members, and that’s what’s driving the overall change,” he said.

The figures proved contrary to suggestions that the economic recession would lead to an increase in crime.