cop reassures Burnham residents over 'misleading' crime stats
top police officer for Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge has this
week reassured residents about 'misleading and alarming' statistics
about crime levels in the towns following reports about so-called
comes after new crime statistics available
online here have been updated to show the new data from May
2015 to April 2016.
figures show supermarkets are the biggest crime hotspots, with
93 reported crimes in and around Burnham and Highbridge's stores
- mainly for shoplifting.
a quick glance the data seems to suggest that Highbridge's Grange
Avenue is a 'crime hotspot' with 56 incidents during the year
- however closer analysis finds many of those actually refer to
shoplifting incidents at the nearby Asda store. There were 35
reported incidents of shoplifting over the year.
has also been claimed that Technical Street has the highest levels
of crime in Burnham-On-Sea with 16 reported incidents of shoplifting,
however closer analysis of the figures reveals 15 of those incidents
actually took place at the former Morrisons store nearby - not
in the street itself.
incidents recorded on the crime maps over the past year range
form "violent and sexual crimes" to criminal damage,
arson, robbery, and drugs.
Chief Inspector Lisa Simpson, Local Policing Commander for Somerset
West, told Burnham-On-Sea.com this week: "Its important
that our communities understand the facts that sit behind the
numbers; statistics alone can be misleading and alarming, and
dont necessarily always reflect the true picture."
have seen an increase in the numbers of crimes reported both across
the Constabulary and nationally. We believe this is due to a number
of factors. Nationally, there has been an improvement in the way
crime is recorded, and the police service across the country has
seen a rise across all crime types due in part to these improvements."
"For the publics peace of mind, it is important to
note that the classification of sexual offences and violent
crime includes a whole range of incidents, from low level
verbal abuse to Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH). The term can be misleading,
as it doesnt necessarily mean any physical violence has
occurred, and the majority of incidents will most likely be low-level
public order offences. Likewise, the term sexual assault
is used to classify crimes ranging from touching over clothing
to rape. This isnt to say that so-called lesser crimes
are any less distressing for victims, but it is important to understand
the make-up of the statistics."
"The figures, in relation to Burnham, cover some high-footfall
and busy shopping areas and other particular locations that affect
crime figures, such as a busy supermarket, which can concentrate
some crime types (shop-lifting). The numbers also clearly highlight
a well-known correlation between certain crime types and areas
dominated by pubs, bars and clubs. Alcohol sadly often plays a
key role in anti-social behaviour and violence."
"Some of the figures relate to particular incidents or locations
for anti-social behaviour. Sometimes we see instances where a
specific case has generated multiple calls from the public to
one location or problem for example an ongoing neighbour dispute.
These issues most often are often then subject to a multi-agency
resolution plan and are sorted out."
continued: "The figures also relate not just to particular
streets but the surrounding area in the same postcode and again,
if there are bars or pubs in the vicinity, we can sometimes see
more instances of ASB. However, we work very closely with local
licensees, the caravan parks, our partners at the council and
Trading Standards to implement effective measures to deal with
and prevent ASB. These include Pub Watch, No Drinking Zones, regular
licence checks and zero tolerance of ASB on the holiday sites."
"What is encouraging is that we believe that we have seen
a rise in reporting within some crime areas that have been significantly
underreported in the past such as domestic abuse, violent crime
and some sexual offences. A huge amount of work has been done,
not just by ourselves but with key support services like The Bridge
and our college & university communities, to encourage reporting.
We have worked extremely hard to increase the publics trust
and confidence in us, both as a force and as a police service
nationally, and I believe we are now seeing a greater willingness
to report as a result."
"We have also undertaken work with our partners to educate
and raise public awareness in relation to certain crime including
positive changes in legislation (for example the recent introduction
of legislation in relation to domestic abuse and coercive
and controlling behaviour)."
by educating the public it means we see an increase in reporting
and less people suffer in silence as a result, then that is positive
news. This means that more victims are receiving the support and
protection the need, and potentially we have more opportunities
to bring offenders to justice. A rise in reported crime isnt
always bad news."
world is ever-changing and we adapt to respond to emerging issues
and public need. Some crime has increased as the social landscape
has changed and technology has developed. We have obviously seen
an increase in online crime in the last ten years for example,
and we undertake training and adapt our workforce to respond accordingly."
Lisa added: "I live in Somerset and I firmly believe we have
one of the safest counties in the country. People should be reassured
that these figures are comparatively very low in relation to other
areas. This doesnt mean we are complacent; we remain absolutely
dedicated to preventing and detecting crime in our community,
supporting victims and working together to keep people safe."
"I also believe that we each, as individuals, have a responsibility
and a part to play in making our communities safer. You, the public,
are our eyes and ears, so please keep talking to us. Keep reporting
crime and anti-social behaviour. If you have information that
could help us, get in touch."
sure you are also reducing the risk of becoming a victim of crime
yourself by taking simple and effective crime prevention measures
to protect your homes, cars and property and of course, yourselves.
We have to work together. Speak to my officers or visit our website