Crime in Britain rose at the fastest rate in more than a decade last year, according to newly-released statistics by UK government.
Nearly five million crimes were reported to police across England and Wales between April 2016 and March 2017, a 10 percent increase, according to data by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Violent crime rose 18 percent, robbery 16 percent and sex offenses 14 percent. Offenses involving knives or other sharp instruments rose 20 percent.
There were 723 homicides in the past year, a 9 percent increase. Gun violence increased 23 percent to 6,375 offenses, mostly driven by a rise in the use of firearms.
“The latest figures show the largest annual rise in crimes recorded by the police in a decade. While ongoing improvements to recording practices are driving this volume rise, we believe actual increases in crime are also a factor in a number of categories,” said John Flatley, head of crime statistics and analysis at the ONS.
The figures highlight that Britain is becoming increasingly violent in nature, said Danny Shaw, BBC News home affairs correspondent.
Rachel Almeida, head of policy at charity Victim Support, said the rise, especially in violent crime, was a “great cause for concern.”
“These types of crime in particular can cause deep emotional, physical and psychological effects on victims,” she said.
The figures come as the number of hate crimes involving racial and religious discrimination in the UK have spiked at an unprecedented rate since last year’s British referendum to leave the European Union.
Police figures obtained by The Independent through Freedom of Information (FOI) requests show hate crimes, particularly against Muslims, surged by 23 percent in the 11 months after the Brexit vote, compared with the same period the previous year, the highest increase ever recorded.
Some human rights organizations have blamed the British government’s policies on immigration for inciting hate crimes after the Brexit vote.