Town centre violence rising - but don’t worry

PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 May 2011

View of Weston Sea Front from south end of the beach.

View of Weston Sea Front from south end of the beach.

Archant

VIOLENT crime and antisocial behaviour has been rising 
in Weston town centre – but police say residents should not be alarmed.

In comparing the figures from January to March, there has been 162 more incidents this year, while antisocial behaviour is climbing by about 20 incidents a month.

In January there were 360 cases of crime and antisocial behaviour and in March this increased to 522.

New town centre Sergeant Mark Raby said the figures are growing as summer visitors flock to the resort to check out Weston’s many attractions.

He said: “This will be the first full summer with the new Grand Pier and Pier Square, and with events such as T4 we are expecting it to be busy.

“At peak times antisocial behaviour does increase, but Weston will not be blighted by those wanting to cause trouble.

“We want families, residents and tourists to enjoy Weston this summer and I will be doing everything I can to make sure the town is safe.”

Violent crime has doubled so far this year, with 45 incidents logged in January and 90 in March and robberies have increased this quarter, from one to four.

On the flip side, police say they have prioritised tackling burglary and as a result there has been a decline of eight in the town centre, resulting in 17 burglaries in March.

A police spokesman said that despite the increase this year, in comparing figures from April 2007 through to the end of March 2011, there is a general downward trend in both crime and antisocial behaviour in the town centre.

Police say combating antisocial behaviour is a priority and despite the warm weather, the number of calls received in March and April is 11 per cent below the figure for the same period last year.

A spokesman said: “Incidents of crime are slightly up during March and April compared to this time last year, but this is not something that should alarm the general public.

“The number of people visiting the town in these months has been higher than last year, taking into account the good early spring weather, the bank holiday and the additional royal wedding bank holiday, all of which will have contributed to a slight rise.

“Year on year robbery has gone down by 51 per cent, the detection rate has increased and, despite the increase in 
violent crime, we have detected 49 more violence against the person crimes, which demonstrates the quality of our investigations and our ability to catch offenders.”

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