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Low crime figures conflict with burglary fears


News | Community

While very few people are victims of crime, many more are concerned about being burgled or mugged, according to a survey conducted by Peterborough City Council’s community safety team.

 


The crime and disorder survey reveals a significant drop in the number of respondents who were victims of crime, a fall from almost a quarter in 2004 to less than 10 per cent last year. The biggest proportion of respondents (43 per cent) also thought that crime levels ‘had not really changed in the past three years’.

“This survey reflects the national picture where the fear of crime is more prevalent than people’s actual experience of crime,” said Peterborough City Council’s community safety manager Christine Graham.

“We recognise that even the fear of crime interferes with the quality of life enjoyed by local people and we are continually working with the police and other organisations to improve the safety and feel of the city. We have a three-year strategy to target areas of greatest concern and close the gap between perceptions and reality.”

The questionnaire was distributed to 73,500 local homes with copies of Your Peterborough, the city council’s newspaper for residents in October. A total of 2,578 forms (3.5 per cent) were returned, compared with 3,054 returned questionnaires (5 per cent) in 2004.

While 27 per cent of respondents were ‘very worried’ and 45.3 per cent were ‘fairly worried’ about having their homes broken into, only 5.9 per cent had actually suffered an attempted or actual burglary on one occasion while 1.9 had been a victim more than once.

Similarly, 25.6 per cent of respondents were ‘very worried’ and 35.9 per cent were ‘fairly worried’ about being mugged and robbed but only 2.3 per cent had actually been a victim of this crime on one occasion while 0.4 per cent had been affected more than once. Almost two-thirds (62 per cent) of victims did not report burglaries to police and only 69 per cent of mugging victims reported the crime.

Reasons for not reporting crimes to the police included: Respondents did not think the police would do anything about it (11.1 per cent); there was no chance of catching the criminals (8.5 per cent); it was only a minor offence (5 per cent); they did not think they would be taken seriously (3.5 per cent); and offenders were too young to be prosecuted (3.3 per cent).

Most respondents felt that, over the past three years, the overall level of crime had not changed (43.2 per cent), decreased a fair amount (4.3 per cent) or decreased a lot (0.5 per cent). Just over one-third (33.9 per cent) thought crime had increased a fair amount and 15.1 per cent thought crime had increased a lot.

Overall, 61.5 per cent revealed that no one in their households had been a victim of crime in the six months prior to the survey, compared with 34.3 per cent who said they had been a victim.

When asked about other neighbourhood issues, rubbish and litter were identified as a very big problem by 23.3 per cent and a fairly big problem by 29.6 per cent. Vandalism, graffiti and deliberate damage to property or vehicles was next (20.6 per cent and 29.8 per cent, respectively). However, a majority of respondents felt that the use or dealing drugs; teenagers hanging around the streets; noisy neighbours; drunk or rowdy behaviour; and burnt out cars were not big problems.

Councillor Graham Murphy, Cabinet member for the Environment and Community Safety, said: “These survey results are very helpful in shaping our policies and action plans and I am grateful to those residents who completed the questionnaire.”

For more information about the Peterborough Community Safety Partnership’s three-year strategy visit www.gpp-peterborough.org.uk

July 2006

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