Street thefts and pick-pocketings have gone up by 10% in the biggest leap for a decade, police figures have revealed.
Mugging and robberies also increased last year despite an overall fall in crime, combined data from the Office for National Statistics showed. Serious sexual crimes went up by 2% on police records. Burglaries went up by 1% while vehicle-related thefts increased by 2% in 2011, according to the separate Crime Survey for England and Wales.
The survey showed "no statistically significant change in overall crime" with police recording 3% fewer incidents. But recorded figures for theft from the person showed the most dramatic swing after the street-related crime fell for three consecutive years.
The ONS report said: "These latest figures represent the largest year-on-year increase in these offences since 2002; and represent a return to roughly 2008 levels of these offences, following a substantial decrease between 2004 and 2008."
Both the survey and police-recorded statistic "provide evidence of an increase in some of the theft-related offence groups", the ONS said.
Robbery offences recorded by the police showed an overall 3% rise. Recorded bicycle thefts rose by 7%, with increases recorded in most police force areas. The rise in serious sex crime marked a slowing of the increased rate of recent years.
The study, previously known as the British Crime Survey, was published by the ONS for the first time. In the past, the Home Office has been responsible for publishing the figures. Total recorded crime cases fell in number from 4,159,553 to 4,043,339, the survey estimates.
Deputy Chief Constable Douglas Paxton, of the Association of Chief Police Officers, praised police for a "reduction in crime and rise in public confidence, alongside ongoing efforts to secure significant cash savings". Violence against the person decreased by 7%, domestic burglaries dropped 3% and most other categories show reductions in police-recorded crime.
Mr Paxton added: "Particularly pleasing is the reduction in criminal damage shown in both police statistics and the crime survey. However, there has been increases in opportunistic thefts and robbery offences and police forces are continuing their efforts to work with partners and the public to prevent these offences."
Policing minister Nick Herbert said: "Today's (Thursday's) figures show that overall crime is stable but there are variations between offences and police force areas, and crime remains too high."