A STEADY slump in crime rates is being celebrated across Rose Hill, with residents saying the estate is much safer than it used to be.

Crime across the area is down by 14 per cent in the last year, from 261 offences in 2010/11 to 223 in 2011/12, with a notably large drop in serious offending.

Serious violent and sexual offences and arson fell by 80 per cent, from 10 incidents in 2010/11 to two in the year that followed.

The number of harassment, assault with injury and criminal damage reports were also down.

Community leaders agree Rose Hill is a safer place to live than it was previously, thanks to police presence and projects to help deprivation.

Fran Gardner, Rose Hill community worker for GreenSquare housing company, said things had improved.

She said: “It’s an awful lot better than several years ago. I’ve been on the estate for three years and as you can see from the police statistics, there has been a real dip in crime.”

She added that the housing group was doing its bit to tackle issues in the area. She added: “We are providing opportunities for local people to develop skills, to meet and socialise, and to stay healthy – and this can only be good news when it comes to developing community spirit and, we hope, reducing crime and anti-social behaviour.”

Residents and traders agreed with the picture painted by the statistics.

Bill Buckingham, 91, of Court Farm Road said: “Lately, we’ve had no problems at all. Most of the problems used to be around The Oval but now they seem to have ceased.”

Ranjit Singh, 21, works in the Turna Superstore in The Oval, and said: “We came here in 2006 or 2007, and at that time there were some troubles, but at the moment everything’s fine.”

The good feeling in the community has been echoed by elected officials.

Oxford city councillor Antonia Bance: “We’re lucky in Rose Hill, over the last five to six years, we’ve had a big fall in recorded crime.

“Rose Hill is now a much safer place, people feel confident out and about and crime is less of an issue.”

She said the area had historically had problems with antisocial behaviour, adding: “We have a strong policing team with dedicated Pcso’s for the estate. It has become a much quieter and safer place to live.”