CRIME and disorder in Scarborough rose sharply in January, new figures from the Home Office have shown.
In total, 707 incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour were recorded in the urban Scarborough area, compared with 618 total incidents in December.
The number of anti-social behaviour reports increased from 315 to 368, while the number of actual crimes rose from 303 to 339.
This included a drastic rise in the number of burglaries, up from 16 in December to 36 in January.
By far the hardest-hit area for burglaries was South Cliff, where 15 occurred over the one-month period. Two each took place in or around Crown Terrace and South Street, while three burglaries were reported in or around Holbeck Hill.
The overall figures, which are the latest to be released on an online system which the Home Office wanted the public to be aware of, show that in the Scarborough Safer Neighbourhood district, there were more incidents of anti-social behaviour than in any other in Yorkshire.
Scarborough Safer Neighbourhood Inspector Tony Quinn said the rise in figures may be explained by the harsh weather in December, which he says shows how it can be misleading to look at one month’s figures in isolation.
He added: “While the figures for January are disappointing they should be seen in the context of overall crime which is currently showing an annual reduction of three per cent in Scarborough which if maintained until the end of this month will be the sixth year in succession that crime has reduced.
“It is a similar picture with anti-social behaviour which is currently showing an annual reduction of eight per cent following a similar sized reduction in the previous year. One of the important things to understand about anti-social behaviour is that it is a very broad term which includes not only rowdy behaviour, but also calls about animals, begging, hoax phone calls, noise, vehicles and trespass.”
Insp Quinn added that police in Scarborough had targeted rowdy behaviour and street drinking, which are currently showing annual reductions of eight per cent and 34 per cent respectively, and said drawing comparisons with other safer neighbourhood areas could be misleading.
“Finally I would point out that the size of safer neighbourhood areas can vary enormously in terms of their population, demographics and geographic size so it is difficult to compare one with another,” he added. “Scarborough Safer Neighbourhood is relatively large which will inevitably mean that we have higher amounts of crime than many areas which are smaller or different in nature. “
In the past two months, levels of crime and anti-social behaviour in Scarborough have been classed as above average when compared to the rest of England and Wales.
In December, a rate of 13.69 crimes per 1,000 people was recorded, rising to 15.66 in January.
In York Central however, the crime rate in January was 24.74, reflecting the smaller population covered in the safer neighbourhood area.
Crime rates in the smaller central safer neighbourhood areas in cities such as Sheffield and Leeds were also significantly higher than in Scarborough, although in towns such as Selby, Richmond and Harrogate the crime rate was much lower.
In the Whitby area over January, 152 crimes and anti-social behaviour reports were recorded, giving a crime rate of 5.84.
Cllr Brian Simpson, Scarborough Council cabinet portfolio holder for safer communities, urged people not to read too much into the figures, particularly the rise in anti-social behaviour.
“You have got to look at what is classed as anti-social behaviour,” he said. “Many of the reports are not for what I consider traditional anti-social behaviour.
“It’s a shame the crime mapping system doesn’t categorise the type of incident as well. I’m still not convinced by it - it doesn’t give a true picture of the nature of the incidents and crimes reported.”
Cllr Simpson added that he does not believe crime or anti-social behaviour in Scarborough is any more of a problem than in most other parts of the country.
“I never come across it,” he added. “It could be that people may be more likely to report things here. The police have worked hard to reduce anti-social behaviour.”
In positive news, violent crimes dropped in Scarborough from 98 to 79 from December to January.
Crime and anti-social behaviour also fell in St Nicholas Street and St Thomas Street. They were revealed as the hot-spots the previous month when the Home Office insisted that all crimes should be shared with the public.
The number of incidents reported in St Nicholas Street fell from 61 to 54, including 11 violent crimes compared to 14 in December.
Crime and anti-social behaviour fell more drastically in St Thomas Street, from 43 reports in December to 24 in January.
The figures do not include Eastfield, Filey or the more rural areas around Scarborough such as Cloughton and Burniston.
In the Filey, Eastfield and Scarborough Rural area, crime and reports of anti-social behaviour rose slightly, from 233 total incidents in December compared to 236 in January.
In Eastfield alone however, police reported a reduction in disorder, with figures falling from 94 incidents to 83.
The Filey, Eastfield and Scarborough Rural area recorded a crime rate of 6.35, which is classed by the government as average.