By local MP John Hayes
According to an old saying ‘crime doesn’t pay’, but, looking back, for too long and for too many, a life of crime was a lucrative way to make a living.
Now crime rates are down and falling fast.
The seeds of this welcome change were sown in the mid 1990s, though the policies introduced were controversial at the time.
The first reform was more effective use of prison, resulting in the number of people being locked up nearly doubling – from 45,000 in 1990 to 85,000 today.
Of course, prison works by keeping those who want to rob and hurt people away from their potential victims, but the deterrent of incarceration matters too and, together with a greater emphasis on education and rehabilitation, has made a big difference.
Better deployment of technology – particularly CCTV, by improving detection rates, has also played a part in cutting crime.
Most of all, we should be grateful for the hard work of the policemen and women, who – in testing circumstances – maintain our safe, civilised places to live by protecting us from disorder.
As a result of such improvements, recorded crime in Lincolnshire fell by eight per cent last year and by an impressive 19 per cent since the middle of 2010.
The good news includes a decline in serious offences such as burglary and assault, with NHS hospitals confirming that far fewer victims of attacks are arriving at A&E.
The evidence is clear – there is less crime.
Incidents of farm theft, illegal hare coursing, shoplifting and similar menaces show there is more to do, but the heartening truth, revealed by cold statistics, is that our society has become less tolerant of violent and other forms of criminal activity.
We can all sleep easier in the knowledge that a life of crime is now a much more precarious way of making a living.