INCIDENTS of violent crime reported to Merseyside Police rose last year, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Despite having the fifth lowest increase of 'violence with injury' compared to similar forces, the data reveals an 8.1% increase in violence (3,556 more offences on thé previous year), a 2.7% increase in violence with injury (387 more offences) and 10.8% increase in violence without injury (3,166 more offences).
There was a 2.4% increase in reported crimes of sexual offences, compared with a 1.7% rise in England and Wales. In addition, overall crime increased by 0.5% (695 more offences), lower than the 3% increase nationally.
On the positive side, there was a 55% fall in knife-related homicides last year (from nine in 2018 to four).
Burglaries fell by 18.9%, 2,102 less than the previous year, doubling the national 7.7% decrease.
The number of robberies also dropped by 5.8% (85 less offences than), compared to a national increase of 8.8%.
Vehicle crime also fell by 12.9%, 1,340 less offences than the previous year, greater than the national 0.1% decrease.
Reflecting on the figures, deputy chief constable Serena Kennedy said: "I am pleased to see that there has been a decrease in some crime types in Merseyside in the past year.
"Burglary is an offence that can have a huge impact on victims in our communities, and it is pleasing to see that the force’s efforts in this area, including a focussed activity under Operation Castle, which has resulted in 2,102 less burglaries being committed this year.
"These statistics show the excellent work of all officers and staff who remain committed in putting the public first, doing everything they can to prevent and detect crime in Merseyside and I hope to see future decreases in these and other crime types during 2020."
"We remain realistic about the issues we face.
"Alongside the Home Office, we continue to invest in proactive methods of policing including the launch of 'Op Target', to help tackle serious and violent crime including knife and gun crime, and we are already seeing great results in the number of those arrested and charged as well as weapons recovered and proactive opportunities, carrying out warrants and engaging with the public where possible."
Since the launch of Operation Target last July, police have carried out 3085 stop searches, more than 1200 open land searches, recovered more than 1100 knives and other weapons and arrested over 450 people for knife crime offences, not including possession of a bladed article.
Dep chief constable Serena Kennedy continued: "We continue to listen to the concerns of our communities, at a hugely uncertain time when we are all adapting to a new ‘normal’, crime is becoming more diverse and offenders are using more modern techniques to commit crime.
"We must remain ahead of the game, therefore I would encourage the public to continue speaking to us, reporting suspicious activity and allowing us to use our variety of investigative tools to bring offenders to justice."