The number of sex offences in Brighton and Hove has risen by more than a third since this time last year.
At times more than half the offences being reported were classed as historic sex offences.
The rise in the number of historic sex offences was attributed to the publicity surrounding the late BBC radio and TV presenter Jimmy Savile.
Savile was the subject of several allegations after his death – and other celebrities of his era have since been investigated and arrested over similar allegations.
Chief Superintendent Nev Kemp, the Sussex Police commander for Brighton and Hove, said: “It is mainly historic offences – those over a month old. That was in large part down to Jimmy Savile.
“For the first time ever in the first part of this year we had more historic offences reported than current offences.
“We’ve seen a slight increase in current offences and I think that’s because people feel more emboldened to report them and that there’s a more sensitive environment in which to report them.”
He made his remarks at a meeting of the Brighton and Hove City Council Community Safety Forum at Hove Town Hall this afternoon (Monday 7 October).
A report presented to the meeting said: “The number of police-recorded sexual offences in the first five months of 2013-14 was 164 and this compares with 120 recorded in the same months of 2012-13.
“This continues the increase seen during the second half of 2012-13 with serious sexual offences increasing more than less serious sexual offences.”
The council’s community safety commissioner Linda Beanlands said: “We see this as a sign that victims have greater confidence to come forward and report these to us.”
The report added: “The sexual offences data since April shows considerable fluctuation which is likely to be a result of delayed data entry linked to the implementation of the new police crime management system.”