Headlines: October 6th, 2009

Crime is rising in many parts of the country as more people are affected by the recession. Burglary is showing the largest increase followed by vehicle crime, antisocial behaviour, alcohol and drug misuse and domestic violence. This picture emerges from a survey of town halls by the Local Government Association which links the rise to the recession.

The survey identified the priority concerns of respondents as social behaviour, fear of crime and alcohol and drug misuse.

The new figures suggest that years of falling crime figures may be coming to an end. But the survey also revealed that councils are maintaining their community safety programmes despite ongoing financial constraints. Two-thirds of councils said that these initiatives, which include street wardens or youth projects, were still in place.

The LGA said that the survey’s findings reinforced the need for councils and the police to be given space to combat crime and for top-down, time consuming initiatives from central government to be halted.

The LGA found many examples of action across the country to reverse the trend of rising crime. The council and police in Warrington set up a town centre neighbouring policing unit to keep track of trouble makers in the town centre. Since the scheme began, violent crime has fallen by 30%.

In Gorton South, Manchester, a partnership between the police, council and members of the local community has reduced crime overall by 28%, antisocial behaviour by 18% and criminal damage by 17%.

Havering Council in east London identified the potential risk of a rise in property crime resulting from the recession. A dedicated action group – ‘Safe and Sound’ – was established to focus on commercial robbery, residential burglary and vehicle crime.

Anti-social behaviour incidents in an area of Milton Keynes have fallen after a programme was set up to tackle concerns about large gatherings of youths and under-age drinking.