Crime overview


The 2018 strategic assessment states: Crime has been increasing in recent years, with a 30% increase from 2015/16 to 2017/18. The peak crime categories include assault with injury, assault without injury, criminal damage, other theft and shoplifting. These categories account for over half of all volume of crime.

When looking at crime in a different perspective – harm – and using the ONS Crime Severity Tool , these volume crimes account for 20% of harm across the county. Using the ONS Crime Severity Tool to look at the most harmful crime categories, gives a different picture to that mentioned above. The most harmful crime types include residential and commercial burglary, assaults, wounding, rape, robbery and sexual activity involving a child. These crimes account for 25% of the volume, but 68% of harm. Investigations into the most harmful crimes are also the most resource intensive, not just for the police, but for partners as well. The score for each partnership can be seen on page 3 of the community safety dashboard.

As part of the strategic process a Living in Lancashire survey was conducted, sending out 2,916 questionnaires to residents across Lancashire. There was a 68% (1,991) response rate with all community safety, crime and policing questions answered by respondents. Analysis of the results found the following highlights:

  • 85% of respondents felt safe in their local area – with the age group of 60 yrs+ feeling most safe (88%).
  • A lack of police presence (14%) was the most significant reason why respondents felt unsafe in their local area.
  • More than three-quarters of respondents felt that issues with violence, sexual exploitation and organised crime were not a big problem.
  • 38% of respondents felt that burglary, with half of respondents aged 25-44 years, was a problem.
  • 53% felt drug dealing was a problem in their area, with respondents aged 25-59 years having most concern.
  • Dangerous driving was seen as a big problem for 49% of respondents (increase from previous survey).
  • Less than half of respondents felt that the police and other local public services are dealing with crime and ASB successfully – this has been reducing in recent surveys.
  • Cleanliness of the streets (34%) and access to green areas (12%) were issues that had increased in dissatisfaction in local communities.

Crime in England and Wales

The Lancashire-14 area is one of the safest areas in the country with crime and other community safety issues, such as anti-social behaviour and road accidents at their lowest level for years. Around nine out of ten respondents (87%) to a recent Living in Lancashire survey consider their local area to be safe.

Latest full year figures from the Home Office for 2017/18 on police recorded crime show that there were 127,028 crimes (excluding fraud) in the Lancashire-14 area. This represents an 18% increase (19,418 more crimes) in the Lancashire-14 area compared with 2016/17. Although there is a significant increase of 13% in England and Wales for the same time period, this is below the Lancashire rate.

The CSEW indicates that there has been no overall change in the more common but less violent levels of crime. Violence against the person increased by 35% to 41,408 crimes in Lancashire, driven by a 40% increase in violence without injury, again higher than the England and Wales average. The increase in this category is likely to be due to improvements in recording these crimes.

This masks significant geographical diversity. From Ribble Valley, which is continually highlighted as a top 10 place to live in England and Wales, to the more deprived areas in Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Burnley,  and Preston where community safety problems are still a significant issue. The highest rates (all above the national average of 84 per 1,000 population), are found in Blackpool at 158 offences per 1,000 population, Burnley and Preston with 120 offences per 1,000 population and Blackburn with Darwen, 97 offences per 1,000 population. Although some of these locations have seen significant regeneration over the last ten years, underlying issues in terms of health, education and unemployment still exist and have an impact on community safety. The lowest rates in Lancashire are Ribble Valley at 41 offences per 1,000 population and Fylde at 54 offences per 1,000 population.

A dashboard detailing the recorded crime data is available to view on the dashboard page.

Please note, there have been changes both in categories recorded and in recording practice which have significantly impacted the figures.

The crime survey for England and Wales 2018 has a section on what’s happened to the volume of crime recorded by the police which discussed the changes seen on sexual offences and there is a paragraph on stalking offences which is thought to have increased due to recording compliance.

The crime data integrity inspection 2017 judged Lancashire Constabulary to be inadequate with only 78% of reported violent crimes recorded and 93.6% of reported sex offences recorded. An increase in the number of crimes recorded after this inspection may be a result of work undergoing to improve compliance.

For more information on how the police count recorded crime, please look at the Home Office Crime Counting Rules.

See further analysis download below.

Further analysis

Crime in Lancashire (PDF 1 MB)

Page updated November 2018