LEVELS of anti-social behaviour in Hartlepool have rocketed by more than 300 incidents compared to the same time last year.
Crime prevention chiefs have revealed between July and September this year there have been 2,230 incidents of anti-social behaviour reported - a rise of 321 compared to the same period last year.
Meanwhile, all recorded crime has dropped slightly by 1.8 per cent in the same three-month period, down 30 incidents to 1,625.
Anti-social behaviour is defined by Cleveland Police as “acting in a manner that causes or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to one or more persons not of the same household as the perpetrator” and examples include harassment, vandalism, graffiti and setting off fireworks late at night.
The 16 per cent rise for the second quarter of the year was reported to a meeting of the Safer Hartlepool Partnership, made up of council and police chiefs.
Officials said further work needs to be done to determine why there had been such a sharp increase and committee members discussed some of the possible reasons why.
Clare Clark, Hartlepool Borough Council’s neighbourhood manager for community safety, said: “The warmer summer weather could be a reason, or the fact that there was such a big drop last year may have distorted the figures.
“It could be that there is less youth provision now in the town which could also be a factor but we need to look into these statistics a bit more and see what we can do about them.”
Council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher questioned whether or not the new non-emergency 101 police number and the ease in which people can now make complaints could be a possible reason as to why there has been a sharp increase in the anti-social incidents.
Coun Akers-Belcher said on one weekend alone he had called the hotline four times for various incidents and called for work to be done to see if the calls to the 101 line could be compared with the number of incidents reported.
Denise Ogden, the council’s director of regeneration and neighbourhoods, asked what the situation was like in other areas.
Officers said Redcar had seen a similar rise in anti-social behaviour but Middlesbrough had seen a drop.