Crime reports fall on Mischief Night
FIREWORKS were aimed at police officers and horses on Mischief Night – but police say crime was “significantly” reduced compared with last year.
Among a shocking array of criminal behaviour, rocks were thrown at police, cars and buses; fireworks were also thrown at shops; and fires were started in Skelmersdale and Tarleton.
Lancashire police issued dispersal zone orders in Skelmersdale and Ormskirk in response to the shocking incidents but say that the overall number of reports of arson, criminal damage and antisocial behaviour all dropped by at least a third, compared with 12 months earlier.
Mischief Night is marked in some areas on November 4, but its origin in the USA is on October 30 and that trend has spread to the UK in recent years.
There has also been a significant shift from pranks and minor vandalism to more dangerous activity.
Sgt Darren Carr, of Lancashire police, attributed the drop in crime levels to the of the force in the lead-up to the day, in collaboration with other authorities such as West Lancashire Borough Council.
On October 30 this year there was a 40% reduction in the number of reports of arson, a 35% drop in incidents of criminal damage, and a 49% fall in antisocial behaviour.
Sgt Carr said: “Throughout the year, we deal with youths who are involved in anti-social behaviour and minor crime. These youths have a number of interventions from our early action teams to address their behaviour and prevent it escalating.
“On the run-up to the annual operation, these youths, and their parents, are visited by police officers.
“Local shops are visited and advised about the sale of a number of items that have been used for anti-social behaviour in the past.
“Our staff report any discarded items they find on their beats, that could be used as missiles, to the council who remove them for us.
“We also work with Lancashire Fire and Rescue to target-harden ‘at risk’ premises and conduct other interventions. Early Action work with the schools around education of the youths and several teachers joined us on this year’s operation. On the evening, we bring in extra resources from other areas of South Division and specialist departments such as mounted and ‘Tac Ops’.”
He added: “I appreciate for those communities that were within the pockets of disorder will not feel the reductions but we will be doing everything we can to reduce this further in future years.
“Once again, I would like to thank the public for their continued support, our partner agencies who do a lot of unseen work behind the scenes, the shop staff who support us by implementing our recommendations and my staff who continue to work hard for the people of West Lancashire.”