CRIME in Blackbird Leys has dropped by nearly a fifth in a year, although it is still one of the worst places for serious violent and sexual crime in the city.

Statistics released by Thames Valley Police show there were 933 recorded crimes in Blackbird Leys from April 2011 to the same month this year.

This was down by 18 per cent from the previous year, when there were 1,136 crimes, and down by 16 per cent from 2009/10.

Sgt Rob Axe, pictured, from the Blackbird Leys Neighbourhood Police team hailed the figures as “brilliant news”.

He said: “I think a lot of it is down to the experience of the police team, I’ve been here three years and we have PCSOs who have been here five.

“That really helps in knowing the community and the offenders. It takes time to know people and you start knowing where the hotspots are.”

The most common estate crimes are criminal damage, possession of cannabis and shoplifting.

There were 181 counts of criminal damage in 2011/12, down from 204 the previous year.

There were also 68 counts of possession of cannabis, down from 100 in 2010/11.

Sgt Axe said: “Like most estates, there is cannabis smoked here and it seems to be a social thing. But we are targeting it.

“It’s an offence, people know it’s an offence and so they smoke at their own peril because we will catch them.

“But the drug problem here is nothing compared to what it once was.

“People live off the memories of the 90s, with the joyriding and the riots, but it is a different place now.”

But the estate is currently has the second highest number of serious sexual offences in Oxford, with only the city centre seeing more.

Since April 2009, there have been 38 serious sexual assaults, with 13 in 2011/12.

There have also been 14 serious violent crimes. More than 13,000 live in Blackbird and Greater Leys.

Sgt Axe said: “That is a number which is very concerning and it is something we will look at.

“One thing I would say is that the number of 13 last year should be put into perspective with the number of people living here and I would want to assure people they are not in any danger on the streets from this.”

Blackbird Leys Parish Council chairman Gordon Roper said: “The estate has changed over the years and a lot of that is thanks to the residents themselves, reporting crime.

“And fair play to the police doing a really sterling job, especially the PCSOs who patrol the estate and talk to residents.

“There is crime here but it doesn’t seem to be any different to what is going on in other towns and estates.”

Blackbird Leys Road resident Roger Williams, 46, said: “I’ve never noticed any crime.

“I was brought up here and haven’t seen any problems.”