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Revealed: Top ten worst streets for crime in Waveney

PUBLISHED: 13:38 19 April 2018 | UPDATED: 13:38 19 April 2018

Horn Hill, Lowestoft. Picture: Nick Butcher

Horn Hill, Lowestoft. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

Horn Hill in Lowestoft was the worst street for reported crime in the whole of Waveney in the last year.

Statistics from Suffolk Police show the street, near Asda, suffered from 118 crimes since February last year, with shoplifting accounting for 60 of those incidents.

In Lowestoft, London Road North and the surrounding area is the most crime-ridden part of the town, with Bon Marche, the street that runs near Kerrys, Bevan Street East, and Station Square all in the top ten worst streets for the last 13 months.

In Beccles, the worst street was Castle Hill with 50 crimes over the space of a year, with Grange Road second with 41.

Temporary Superintendent for East Suffolk, Sarsfield Donohue, admitted the figures for certain parts of the region seem high but moved to reassure residents.

He said: “Where you have got a bigger urbanisation, you will have higher levels of crime. Where you have got more people, you get more anti-social behaviour.

“When you look the crime levels in comparisons to other towns of our size, our crime levels are no worse than similar towns around the country and we are certainly not out of kilter with the rest of the county.”

He added: “Your hotspots are always going to be where the pubs and clubs are. Where you get alcohol and people you will get a rise in anti-social behaviour or violence which relates to the night-time economy while Asda will have people coming in and trying their luck as will Tesco, and that’s where your theft numbers will be.

“You may look at a particular street and say there have been seven crimes there in a particular month, but five of those could be related to the same incident.”

Almost a third of all crimes, 3,918 in total, fell under the violence and sexual offences category, with anti-social behaviour and criminal damage and arson second and third with 2,218 and 1,692 respectively.

Supt Donohue also explained the numbers for crimes classed as violence and sexual offences are skewed compared to other categories due to the fact that crimes, from the very minimal to very serious, are included in that single category.

He said: “Everything from grievous bodily harm right down to common assault which is literally just touching somebody on the arm is included.

“If you just take the headline figures without drilling down into the offences themselves, you think that looks quite bad.”

Castle Hill, Beccles.
Picture: Nick Butcher Castle Hill, Beccles. Picture: Nick Butcher

The data shows that well over half of reported crime went unpunished with police not able to prosecute more than 1,600 suspects and unable to identify a suspect for more than 3,500 incidents, despite Waveney suffering from 30.1 crimes per day on average since February 2017.

He said: “The police role is to respond to the report, deal with the incident, investigate the crime and gather evidence. It is the Crown Prosecution Service’s decision whether or not to prosecute.

“In order to get a prosecution of somebody you need the evidence from forensics, witnesses and things like CCTV. If they are not there in the first place, it is really challenging. You do find with less serious offences that there is absolutely nothing whatsoever.”

Reeve Street, Lowestoft.
Picture: Nick Butcher Reeve Street, Lowestoft. Picture: Nick Butcher

But Supt Donohue said while the numbers were high, there is nothing stopping the police from revisiting cases if new evidence comes to light.

He gave one example of one person who was linked to 87 different offences following a report of minor criminal damage.

He said: “There is a very small number of people carrying out the majority of offences. We have a very good detection rate in the east, it is the best in the force.”

Bon Marche, Lowestoft.
Picture: Nick Butcher Bon Marche, Lowestoft. Picture: Nick Butcher

“Austerity has had an impact and our numbers are reduced, which makes it even more important for people to report something when something happens, so then we can target our resources more effectively rather than having random patrols. The challenge is working out where best to use my resources.

“It is important to understand the context around these figures and the finer details. Suffolk is still one of the safest counties of the country.”

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