EVERY year we report on crime statistics in Oxfordshire and list thousands of offences which have taken place in the county.

But only a fraction of these are ever reported to the public because most are never publicised by Thames Valley Police.

In September 2008 the Oxford Mail submitted a Freedom of Information request to the force to find out how many crimes they did not tell people about.

The response received showed that police were called to crimes 6,636 times during a four-week period between July 1 and July 28, 2008.

Police appealed for witnesses 22 times in that same period, when there were reports of 49 robberies, 41 sexual offences, 310 burglaries and 452 violent incidents among other alleged crimes.

Not all of the calls in July were recorded as a crime by officers. But based on the total number of crimes recorded that year – 49,939 – that would suggest a four-week average of 3,841, meaning an average of just one in 174 was made public in July.

Thames Valley Police chief constable at the time Sara Thornton refused to speak to the Oxford Mail.

Her deputy Alex Marshall also turned down our requests for comment and Chief Supt Brendan O’Dowda, who was Oxfordshire police commander at the time, defended the policy.

He said: “This very low figure does not represent the real interface and consultation we have with the public.

“From September, crime statistics for individual neighbourhoods will start to appear on our website and work is in hand now to produce local crime maps at a neighbourhood level.

“The hope is that by providing people with more information they can form their own opinions about crime in their area.

“I would like to balance making appeals for witnesses through the media with instilling an unnecessary fear of crime within our community. Publicising reams of low-level crime would serve very little purpose.”

It is not known what proportion of crimes in recent weeks have been publicised, but at least some are not reported by police.

In June this year mother-of-two Ann Haggar had her £700 bike stolen in Aston Street, East Oxford.

She approached the Oxford Mail directly with information.

Mrs Haggar said: “I went on Facebook with information about my bike because I felt that the more people that knew about it being stolen the better.

“I did my own publicity. I am not aware of the police publicising it. I think it is very important for people to know about crimes, for example to stop them accidentally buying a stolen bike.

“I am not sure why the police would want to withhold information on bike thefts anyway.

“The Freedom of Information Act is not something I know a lot about but I think it is good that you are able to get that information from the police.

“I do not understand why the Act could be cut back at the moment.

“It is hard enough to get information as it is.”