Burglary levels have plummeted by almost a quarter between 1997 and 1999, the latest British Crime Survey from the Home Office reveals.

The survey shows that there were nearly 1.28m burglaries on domestic premises during that time, compared with 1.62m in the two preceding years – a 21% drop.

Home secretary Jack Straw said: "It shows what can be achieved when particular types of crime are targeted. It is no accident that burglary rates are down by more than a fifth to their lowest level for a decade."

Other highlights of the study were a 15% fall in motor theft. But the most worrying aspect of the report was a 14% rise in robberies and a 29% rise in violence by strangers.