CRIME in the Borders has soared by 13 per cent over the past year – the third highest jump in Scotland.

Only Falkirk and East Renfrewshire recorded bigger rises during the same period.

Statistics released by Police Scotland show reports of sexual offences have gone up by 25 per cent, housebreaking is up 21 per cent and violent crimes have risen by 10 per cent.

The data also shows there were 494 reports of antisocial behaviour made to police between April 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018 – equating to 41 more incidents on the same period in 2016/17.

Some of the statistics were presented to elected members at Friday’s meeting of the Police, Fire & Rescue and Safer Communities Board.

Officers say the main reason behind the increase in antisocial behaviour is technology.

A report presented to the meeting states: “The rise in antisocial behaviour us reflected across all categories apart from disturbances.

“The most significant increase can be seen in relation to antisocial communications. The rise reflects the increase and ease in which technology can be used for communicating through texts and apps.”

Police say they are trying to reduce the number of incidents by carrying out dedicated patrols and are working with partners to clamp down on repeat offenders.

The figures also show domestic abuse has gone up by 12 per cent, while violent crime rose by 10 per cent. However, officers believe the increase in domestic abuse reports is because more victims have the confidence to come forward.

The report states: “Police and partner agencies actively encourage victims of domestic abuse to report incidents.

“We continue to work with our partner agencies to reduce the harm caused by domestic abuse in the Scottish Borders.

“We are achieving this by robustly investigating and reviewing every domestic incident that is reported...; referring or signposting every person who reports and incident of a sexual crime to the most appropriate support agency; ensuring there is a victim-centred approach and a focus on intelligence led activity on repeat offenders; and proactively checking all domestic abuse offenders are adhering to bail conditions.”

Meanwhile, the 10 per cent rise in violent crime equates to five more incidents being reported over the 12-month period.

The report states: “We continue to work on reducing the harm caused by violent crime... by working with our licensed premises to reduce alcohol related violence; rolling out the Crimestoppers ‘No Knives, Better Lives’ programme for youths and continuing with our weekend plans which target problem areas across our night time economy.”

Friday’s meeting was also told officers have been working with Hawick High School to highlight how organised crime can have an impact on the community.