Scarborough’s true toll of crimes


THE true scale of anti-social behaviour and violence in Scarborough has been revealed in a new crime map.

The town is home to one of the most violent streets in the whole of Yorkshire and the Humber, according to new figures just released by the Home Office.

The disturbing figures have been revealed as part of a nationwide crime mapping scheme, aimed at increasing transparency and accountability among police forces.

Last December, there were 533 crimes and instances of anti-social behaviour in one month. Details of only 37 were revealed publicly at the time.

During that month, 61 crimes and anti-social behaviour incidents took place in St Nicholas Street in the town centre, the new crime map shows.

A total of 14 of these were violent crimes, such as assault, harassment or grievous bodily harm, making the 185- yard stretch of road the third worst in all Yorkshire and the Humber for violence – only two streets had a worse record for violence over December. One was Briggate in Leeds city centre which topped the list of shame, with 17 recorded violent crimes.

St Nicholas Street was also the fourth worst in the region for anti-social behaviour, with 32 incidents reported to police.

It had the sixth highest number of total crimes and anti-social behaviour incidents in all the region.

Another Scarborough town centre area, St Thomas Street, also saw high crime rates, with 43 crimes and anti-social behaviour reports, seven of which were violent.

Other streets with high rates of crime and anti-social behaviour included Castle Road, Link Walk in Eastfield and Albemarle Crescent.

North Yorkshire Police had previously released statistics on a ward-by-ward basis, however the new system allows the public to see recorded crimes and instances of anti-social behaviour on a street-by-street basis. Inspector Tony Quinn, Scarborough’s safer neighbourhood inspector, highlighted the steps police have taken to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in areas like St Nicholas Street and St Thomas Street, which have a high concentration of large bars that attract thousands of revellers every week.

The police also work closely with licensees and other business owners and in some cases have applied for restrictions to be applied to certain premises.

He said: “Many of the crimes in St Nicholas Street and St Thomas Street are reported because we take positive action to arrest offenders for lower level offences such as drunk and disorderly rather than wait and risk them committing more serious offences later.”

Police officers regularly patrol the areas while night marshals and street angels have been introduced in recent years, leading to a 30 per cent reduction in serious violent crime in Scarborough town centre compared to last year.

In December 2009 there were 314 crimes reported in Castle Ward. That figure reduced to 294 in December last year.

Insp Quinn added that he welcomed the new crime mapping system.

He said: “ The release of the new crime and anti-social behaviour data has obviously proved of great interest to the public mainly I believe because it allows them to identify what has occurred on their street.

“The provision of this data will allow the public to question the police and our partners more closely about what is being done to tackle the crime and anti-social behaviour where they live.

“Currently however the information released on the website doesn’t allow comparison with previous years so it is difficult from the figures alone to say if the situation is improving or getting worse. “What I can tell you is that crime in Scarborough has reduced every year for at least the past four years and anti-social behaviour is also significantly reduced with 400 less reports this year than last.”

Cllr Jane Kenyon represents the Mayfield Ward on Scarborough Council and is chairman of the North Yorkshire Police Authority.

She said yesterday: “A lot of work is going on in St Nicholas Street, particularly with businesses in the night time economy. However obviously there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.”

Cllr Kenyon added that she would reserve her judgement on the merits of the new mapping system and pointed out that North Yorkshire Police have published crime figures for several years.

She added: “North Yorkshire Police have always been transparent about crime figures. This is a new way of publishing them which will underscore the information which is already in the public domain.

“We have to be careful we don’t raise fear of crime and should monitor the effects of this in the long term.”