CRIME has dropped by more than a third in Redditch despite a surge in shoplifting.
Figures released by West Mercia Police show the number of reported offences have fallen from 6,290 in 2011/12 to 3,860 from April 2014 to January this year.
Violence resulting in injury fell from 691 to 468 offences, while reports of robbery, excluding businesses, plummeted from 62 to just 22.
Bicycle thefts and sexual offences have also fallen, while theft from a person has more than halved from 100 incidents to 44.
Criminal damage and arson followed a similar trend, fell by almost 48 per cent.
But the data did show a rise in shoplifting and rape incidents.
In 2011/12 reports of shoplifting stood at 498 and have climbed to 531, despite a slight drop in the last financial year.
Rape reports have risen from 33 to 40 during the same period.
Supt James Baker, for North Worcestershire Police, said while there was no room for complacency he was proud of the service West Mercia officers and staff provided to the public.
“There is always more that can be done and we acknowledge there has been an increase in shoplifting incidents. Business crime is a priority for the Police and Crime Commissioner and we are developing our tactics, working with shops to reduce the harm caused.”
He added the rise in the number of rape incidents being reported could be because victims have more confidence in police and were more likely to report it, especially following high-profile national cases and improvements in how police forces handle such reports.
“Secondly we are recording more historic offences particularly within domestic abuse cases. When the history of abusive relationships are researched many previously unrecorded offences are identified.”
A spokeswoman from Redditch Borough Council said feedback from business owners showed they had taken a firmer approach with shoplifters and reporting more incidents to the police.
She added they were working with police to take stronger action against prolific thieves and four orders banning people from locations within the town had been issued.
“With the support of Police and Crime Commissioner funding we will be launching new initiatives on business crime later in the year.
“The council will continue to work closely with other interested parties via the Businesses Against Redditch Crime network and the Town Centre Partnership to help co-ordinate action to reduce the risk of crime.”