SOLIHULL police are scratching their heads after it was revealed this week that local people still perceive crime to be higher than it is.
Solihull has the lowest crime rate in the West Midlands, but the perception of crime is higher than anywhere else across the force.
The results of the Feel The Difference quarterly police survey reveal that almost one in five (18 per cent) Solihull residents live in fear of crime - well above the West Midlands Police force average of 13 per cent.
More people locally believe crime and anti social behaviour are rising than think it is decreasing, even though the number of reported crimes has fallen by more than a third since 2003.
Police have said these statistics don’t do justice to the great work going on across the Local Policing Unit.
Chief Inspector Kevin Doyle, who leads Neighbourhood Policing in Solihull, said: “Levels of crime and anti social behaviour in Solihull have come down considerably in recent years but that isn’t being reflected in local opinion. It’s a mystery for us and one we’re determined to solve.
“As a force we’ve moved away from basing performance on crime statistics alone because what’s really important is how people feel about crime.
“It’s how safe they feel in their homes. It’s whether they feel comfortable walking the streets at night.
“It’s whether they feel they can rely on us should they need to contact the police.”
Burglary and anti social behaviour are the top concerns in the community, police said.
Solihull has the highest burglary detection rate in the West Midlands, with almost one in five detected, well above the national average.
Anti-social behaviour is also down by a third in the last four years.
Since 2006 police have reduced criminal damage offences by 44 per cent.
Chief Insp Doyle added: “We’re trying really hard to engage with Solihull residents, but maybe there are better ways that we could do this, so any suggestions are welcome.”