Crime up 20 per cent

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Crime in South Ribble has risen by 20 per cent compared to last year.

And figures show a third of the borough’s residents are unsure whether it is a safe place to live.

The statistics went before South Ribble Council’s scrutiny committee.

They were contained in a progress report on the Safer Chorley and South Ribble Community Safety Partnership.

Councillors were told that as regards the figures, South Ribble had seen “a mixed picture” in many of the partnership priority crimes in the first three quarters of 2017-18 compared to the same period last year.

The ‘all crime’ figure for April 2017-January 2018 shows an increase of 20.4 per cent for South Ribble - 19.3 per cent for Chorley - against the previous year.

The breakdown is:

Alcohol related crime + 0.9 per cent.

Anti-social behaviour -6 per cent.

Domestic abuse + 22.6 per cent.

All burglary + 34 per cent.

All theft + 19 per cent.

One terrifying robbery took place at Turpin Green stores, Leyland, last November. A man armed with two knives threatened the shopkeeper and took

money from the till while the other man, who had a hammer, guarded the door. The shopkeeper and his wife were then assaulted while attempting to fend off the attackers, leaving them both with injuries to their hands.

Andrew Tomlinson, 32, of no fixed abode, received 10 years eight months with an extended licence period of five years on his release. His accomplice Nathan Robert Nicholas, 23, of Ribbleton Lane, Ribbleton, received nine years, extended for three years on his release.

The report states that some increases in reported crime, particularly domestic abuse, can be put down to an increased willingness of victims to come forward to report offences to the police, due to national publicity and an increased confidence in victim support services.

It also says there have been improvement in the way police flag domestic abuse crimes, which will have accounted for some of the increases.

The report adds that it is envisaged the strategic priorities for the Partnership will continue to be tackling violent crime and reducing anti-social behaviour - “as these are the areas which form the greatest risk of harm to the community”.

A council survey also highlighted that of 1,753 contacts, 67 per cent of residents were confident South Ribble is a safe place to live and 31 per cent unsure.

The report says South Ribble is “a relatively safe place to live, work, play and visit”.

It goes on: “In many areas of South Ribble, crime and community safety issues are better than the national and, or the North West regional averages”.

Insp Julian Ormiston, of Chorley Police, responded: “We are committed to preventing and responding to all crimes.

“We want residents to feel safe and understand we will do everything possible to trace criminals and take action against them.

“Lancashire Constabulary continually strives to improve the way in which it works and bring offenders to justice.

“While there has been an increase in certain crimes in the Chorley and South Ribble areas, we believe this is due to an increase in confidence from victims that we will be able to help them.

“Furthermore, we are now finding more people are willing to come forward and report what has happened.

“We would like to reassure residents and ask anyone who is the victim of a crime to report it to us immediately.”