NEW Home Office figures show the number of burglaries in Wiltshire is decreasing, placing it at the third lowest level for any police force nationally.

The quarterly statistics outline Wiltshire crime figures compared with the same period in the previous year and reveal that burglaries of residential properties dropped by 10.2 per cent.

Wiltshire is also the second lowest nationally in the number of drug offences, from a total of 43 police forces.

The statistics reveal that Wiltshire and Swindon remains a low-crime area, positioned 10th nationally for overall crime. During the 12-month period, the force recorded a total of 35,935 crimes. And a total of 63.1 per cent of Wiltshire and Swindon residents say they think their police deal with local concerns, which is above the national average.

However, vehicle crime remains high throughout the county. The force has been running initiatives to remind motorists to keep vehicles locked and valuables out of sight.

The figures also show a rise of 12 per cent in violence against the person, compared with the last year. This increase was expected, due to a change in the way such crimes are recorded.

Within this category, there is an increase in “private space violence”, in the home, whereas public violence has dropped six per cent, due to some late night economy initiatives.

In addition, there has been an 8.7 per cent reduction in the most serious violence against people.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Hedley said: “It is very positive that we have seen a reduction in the amount of residential burglaries over the last year. “However, there is always work to be done and the continuing increase in car crime is a concern. We cannot stress enough to owners how small crime prevention measures can really make a difference.

“We have seen a reduction in the most serious violence and we have done a lot of work to curb alcohol-fuelled violence outside pubs and clubs.

“There has been an increase in private space violence, and a lot of that is domestic violence.

“We want to make sure people are reporting more incidents in the home to us because they are confident in the police and not that violent crime in the home is increasing. We don’t know and it is difficult to ascertain.

“We will keep preventing violent crime and we will keep pursuing, by a variety of means, this small number of criminals who live in Wiltshire and commit the large amount of crime. A life of crime is not the way forward.”

Angus Macperson, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, welcomed the figures as the base line for his Police and Crime Plan for the next five years.

He said: “Wiltshire continues to be a low crime area, but there are specific measures which I will be discussing with partners and the Chief Constable.”