Community figures challenged statistics that showed crime had dropped in Maldon district.

Crime fell by 102 offences (or 4.6 per cent) in May 1, 2013 to April 30 this year compared to May 1, 2012 and April 30 last year.

Categories with a significant drop included a 26.4 per cent reduction in theft from vehicles (79 fewer incidents) and a 141 less incidents of anti-social behaviour (10.6 per cent).

But the statistics, produced for a police and crime commissioner meeting in Maldon last week, were challenged by some residents who felt detection rates were low.

Between April 2013 to March this year, just under 23 per cent of all crimes were solved - 1.5 per cent more than the previous financial year.

However, the amount of robberies solved had dropped from more than 54 per cent to 33 per cent, while that for serious violent crime fell from more than 55 per cent to just over 33 per cent.

District commander Chief Insp Alan Cook said Maldon’s crime figures are among the lowest in Essex, making it difficult to spot trends to focus resources on.

He said forensics plays a big part in solving a lot of crime but it can be difficult to track travelling criminals.

Police and crime commissioner Nick Alston said detection rates were “very low,” adding: “We do absolutely look at detection rates, I look at them every month with the chief constable and his team.”