Crime is continuing to fall sharply across England and Wales, figures have revealed.
Police forces recorded significantly reduced numbers of violent attacks, robbery, burglary and fraud.
The total number of offences reported to police year on year fell by 7% in December 2009. This meant 339,473 fewer crimes took place last year, with a total of 4,448,273 offences investigated by police.
The only major category to see an increase was sexual offences, which rose by 2% with an additional 1,135 crimes, bringing the total to 53,239.
The last set of crime figures published ahead of the General Election will be seen as a boon for the Government. And they will be welcomed by police chiefs who warned acquisitive crime may be fuelled by the recession.
The figures were backed by the British Crime Survey, made up with tens of thousands of interviews, which also showed a 7% crime fall.
The survey found the risk of becoming a victim of crime remains at a historic 30-year low.
The Government presented the crime statistics as a 12-month rolling total, instead of as quarterly figures, for the first time.
The largest falls were vehicle theft and other linked offences (down 16%), criminal damage (down 11%) and fraud-type crimes (down 9%).
Senior politicians and police leaders will be particularly pleased that violence continues to fall (down 3%) as does robbery (down 5%). The British Crime Survey showed violence remained at about the same level in 2009 as the previous year.