The crime rate for England and Wales will double once so-called cyber offences are taken into consideration, the Shadow Home Secretary has warned.
Andy Burnham conceded that incidents such as domestic burglary and car theft had fallen in recent times, but said that many criminals had moved their activities online.
He fears that this trend has not been acknowledged by the Government but would become apparent when cyber-crimes were incorporated into the Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures this summer.
“Later this year we will have cyber-crime added to the crime figures for the first time,” said Mr Burnham.
“If you listen to [David] Cameron and Theresa May, they basically say that it’s OK to cut the police because crime is falling … What they don’t say is that crime has been changing. You are now more likely to be mugged online than you are in the street.”
The dangers posed by cyber criminals were laid bare last month, when a senior police officer warned that residents living in isolated or well-off areas of Yorkshire were leaving themselves vulnerable by putting too much personal information on the internet.
DCI Matt Walker said: “The biggest threat people are under is imposed on them by themselves by not thinking about whether they have put something online or kept their security settings up to date.
“It is not just children and young people who fall victim to online exploitation, many adults do too.”
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