‘Overall Hartlepool is a high crime area’: Community safety bosses defend statistics showing 12% increase in offending in Hartlepool
Crime in Hartlepool has seen a rise over the past year, with 1,250 more incidents recorded, an increase of 12%.
The statistics, compiled by the Safer Hartlepool Partnership, showed there was 1,263 more recorded crimes in Hartlepool in 2018 compared to 2017.
However members of the partnership said the increase was the lowest in the Cleveland force area and in line with national patterns.
They also noted the rate of increase slowed from the 21% rise in incidents in 2017 from the previous year.
Kate Ainger, research officer at Hartlepool Community Safety Team, said: “Overall Hartlepool is a high crime area compared to similar areas elsewhere in the country.
“The good news is the rate of increase has slowed since last year and it’s important to note although total crime shows an increase, not all crime categories have increased.
“In fact acquisitive crime, which was a key priority for 2018, has actually gone down.”
Stalking and harassment was the area which saw the largest increase in incidents, with 689 more offences, meaning a 151% rise.
However police said the rise is ‘not a negative’ and shows an increased awareness to the issues.
Chief Inspector Nigel Burnell, from Cleveland Police, said: “In terms of stalking and harassment there is probably a number of things in play. Increased awareness, increased publicity in relation to those types of offences and more scrutiny on reporting.
“It means we’ll be better at recording and identifying incidents.
“We certainly do not see it [the increase in recorded stalking and harassment crimes] as a negative.”
There was also a 83% increase in the number of public disorder offences, with 294 more incidents than last year.
Violent crimes against people also saw an increase of 42% from 2017.
Several offences experienced significant reductions, with burglary dropping by 81 offences, almost 23%, and vehicle crime decreasing by 476 offences, equating to 36%.
Officers noted tackling substance misuse is key to the issues, and said it was a major factor in domestic abuse, acquisitive crime, anti-social behaviour and re-offending.
One of the target areas for the partnership was to reduce acquisitive crime in the town, which dropped by 5.4% in total. However it still remains the most common type of crime and accounts for almost 45% of all recorded crime.
On average there was 65 burglary offences reported a month, with offences peaking in January and December last year.
This was as a result of a spate of offences in the Victoria, Jesmond and Headland and Harbour wards and in the Victoria, Burn Valley and Rural West wards respectively.
Statistics also showed more than a quarter of vehicle crime in the town occurred in the Burn Valley and Headland and Harbour wards.
However praise was also given to the community safety team for its role in helping to reduce the rate of increasing crime.
The group was set up in the town last year to help reduce crime and is made up from officers from council, police, fire services and more.
Council leader Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher said: “Whilst crime is on the increase, what has been put in place by having a community safety team has made that increase in Hartlepool not as high as in other neighbouring local authorities.
“Whilst we would like to see a reduction in crime, like we have in certain areas, it just demonstrates working as an integrated team has had some impact.”
Nic Marko, Local Democracy Reporting Service