Gwent saw the biggest rise in violent crime in England and Wales last year – up 26%.
Violent crime in Gwent rose by more than a quarter last year and overall crime increased in the police force area.
Figures released by the Office of National Statistics show a 1.6% rise in crime reported to Gwent Police despite a 3% drop in reported crime across Wales.
There were 34,984 reported crimes in Gwent in 2013, up 500 from the year before. The biggest spikes were in violent crime and sexual offences, which were up 14%.
Robbery and theft also increased but burglary, possession of weapons and vehicle offences were down.
Mandy Wilmot, Victim Support Divisional Manager for Gwent, said: “It is disturbing to see a sharp rise in violent crime because we know that for many victims the impact of such offences on them will be severe and long-lasting.”
Gwent Police and Crime Commissioner Ian Johnston said the police force was moving in the right direction, highlighting changes to the way crime is recorded.
He said: “I am more concerned about the quality of service the public receive than numerical targets.
“As a result, I have started to see a number of changes in the way the police force is delivering its service here in Gwent which includes a complete move away from the emphasis on targets and numbers that has driven policing in the past.
“With the move away from numerical targets, the indication is that the public in Gwent now believe there has been a refocus on the quality of service provided to them.”
Mr Johnston added the statistics accurately reflected the ‘actual’ amount of crime in Gwent.
Gwent Police Assistant Chief Constable Lorraine Bottomley, said: “The one area where we have seen a considerable increase in recorded crime is in relation to violent crime, which is up 26%.
“Whilst a change in recording practices does explain some of the increase, issues around alcohol and drug abuse continue to be a major factor when it comes to violent crime.
“In relation to the 14% increase in sexual offences, it should be treated as a positive indicator.
“Traditionally sexual offences have always been under reported, and the increase in reports suggests that victims have more confidence in coming forward to report these crimes and seek the support they need.”