66% rise in stalking and harassment reports and spike in drug trafficking cases in Hartlepool - but council chief says it's not all bad news
A 66% rise in stalking and harassment cases and a spike in drug-trafficking offences have contributed to an overall 10% rise in crime across Hartlepool, new figures show.
New data, looking at incidents of reported crime from April to June 2019 compared with the same period last year, also shows a drop in antisocial behaviour, and fall in violent crime with injury.
The figures were presented to the Safer Hartlepool Partnership, and members said there can be positives taken from the performance report.
In total there were 266 more incidents of crime in Hartlepool compared to the same period last year, a rise from 2,805 to 3,071, equating to 9.5%.
Violence without injury offences increased by 59, almost 21%, to 344, while stalking and harassment increased to 364 incidents, a rise of 145, or 66%.
Meanwhile acquisitive crime decreased by 130 incidents, exactly 10%, to 1,175 and reported incidents of violence with injury dropped from 254 to 247.
Rachel Parker from the Hartlepool Community Safety Team, made up of officers from multiple organisations such as the council, police and fire brigade, said the figures do offer some positive signs despite the 9.5% rise.
She said: “While the increase is largely attributed to an increase in violence offences it is also linked to a rise in police generated offences such as drug supply offences, public order offences, and those offences are indicative of proactive policing in the town.
“Whilst the figures will show violence figures increased by 26% overall the increase is linked to particular types of violence offences and they are namely harassment, malicious communications and assault without injury offences.
“The most serious violence offences, violent offences where injury is caused, has reduced compared to the same period last year by roughly 3%.”
Council leader Coun Shane Moore also noted it can be seen as a positive the number of drug trafficking offences increased from 12 to 26, with possession/use of drugs also rising from 60 to 71.
He said: “There were some figures within that report that I wanted to say were disappointing, but actually it’s not disappointing.
“When you look at the likes of the drug trafficking, while the numbers have spiked, it’s a good thing that we’re catching more and more are getting caught, so it’s not always such a negative as it initially looks.”
The report also showed the number of anti-social behaviour incidents in Hartlepool decreased compared to the same period last year, from 1,648 down to 1,130, a drop of 518 incidents and 31%.
Ms Parker noted she was aware of some people disagreeing with the idea anti-social behaviour was decreasing in the town, but said she believes the decrease is down to hard work from police and other officers.
She said: “There does appear to be a perception amongst certain parts of our communities that recorded incidents are reducing because people are not reporting the problems.
“Personally I would disagree with this and I think it’s reasonable to suggest most significant reductions are attributable to problem solving and robust enforcement that’s been taken by Hartlepool Community Safety Team.”
These include numerous days of action carried out and community protections warnings being distributed.
She added figures had shown anti-social behaviour had decreased in all wards apart from Rural West, where it had remained static, and Fens and Rossmere, where it has risen due to incidents in Rossmere Park.
However she added anti-social behaviour figures for Fens and Rossmere are set to drop by around 20% for the next quarter, July to September.