Victims of assault know their attacker

PUBLISHED: 11:47 14 September 2006 | UPDATED: 10:51 06 May 2010

POLICE statistics revealed to The Comet show that two thirds of common assault victims in Hitchin know their attackers. The figure is also high for victims of actual bodily harm. In this instance 57 per cent of attackers are known to their victims. There

POLICE statistics revealed to The Comet show that two thirds of common assault victims in Hitchin know their attackers.

The figure is also high for victims of actual bodily harm. In this instance 57 per cent of attackers are known to their victims.

There have been 79 common assaults and 233 incidents of ABH so far this year and these two types of incident account for 83 per cent of all the 373 assaults recorded in the town since January.

The hotspot for offending is the Market Place and adjoining streets, where there is a greater density of licensed premises. Routes from there to residential areas are affected too.

Hertfordshire Constabulary chief inspector David Partridge said: "Unsurprisingly these offences are invariably drink related, but what is less expected is that such a high percentage of victims and perpetrators know each other.

"What this means for perpetrators is that arrest is virtually inevitable, with penalties ranging from custodial sentences to £80 fixed penalty tickets.

"Prosecution can also impact on employment prospects and the ability to secure certain travel visas."

Chief Insp Partridge also said that while the detection rate for violent crime is high - it currently stands at 51 per cent - the police could detect several more but for one factor.

He explained: "Thirty per cent of victims choose, normally within 24 hours of making an allegation of assault, to withdraw support for further police action.

"We would encourage victims to progress allegations with us otherwise there is no deterrent to prevent re-offending.

"Often victims themselves are under the influence of drink when making the initial allegation."

On a separate note, residents are still the victims of artifice burglaries. This is where criminals, targeting mainly elderly victims, con their way into their homes to commit burglaries.

Chief Insp Partridge said: "Due in part to press coverage more of these criminals are being turned away or having the door slammed on them by persons now alert to this risk.

"It is key though that people who have turned them away contact police immediately as these crooks will often - having failed to enter one address - simply target someone more vulnerable in the vicinity.

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