Shock at 20pc crime surge in town
ALARMING police figures show crime rising throughout the Valley - and it’s growing faster around the borough’s largest town.
Overall crime across 12 Rossendale ward areas rose by nearly 9 per cent in the two years to 2017/18, but grew at more than twice that rate in the three wards comprising Rawtenstall.
There were 1,943 crimes in Longholme, Hareholme and Cribden and Goodshaw in the 12 months to March 2018, up 20.7 per cent in two years.
Longholme councillor Steve Hughes said Rawtenstall’s position as the ‘focal point’ of the borough could explain the ‘shocking’ increase.
He said: “It is shocking and sad that we are in this state of affairs. Clearly, Rawtenstall is the focal point of Rossendale and is also a key artery into Manchester and Preston. As a town develops there are inevitably more people and more opportunities for crime.”
In Longholme, the number of crimes leapt from 604 in 2015/2016 to 721 in 2017/2018 - up 19.4 percent. In neighbouring Hareholme ward, the total rose from 618 in 2015/2016 to 736 in 2017/2018.
But the largest single spike was seen in the combined Cribden and Goodshaw ward area, with a rise from 388 crimes to 486 in 2017/2018 - up more than 25 per cent.
Rossendale council leader and Goodshaw councillor Alyson Barnes said fighting crime was made harder by cuts to police budgets, while increasing poverty could also be a factor. She said: “Sadly when things are tough for people financially crime goes up. Rawtenstall is within easy access of the motorway network, so is vulnerable to cross border crime.”
The only ward which saw crime drop off over the same period was Greenfield in Haslingden with a 4.8 per cent fall, although when combined with neighbouring Worsley the town still recorded a steep 19.0 per cent crime rise in the last 12 months, following a drop last year.
Stacksteads and Eden also saw double digit rises.
A Lancashire police spokesman said: “The overall crime increases shown in these statistics are similar to the national picture and reflect our efforts at improved recording of crime and more victims having the confidence in us to come forward and report crime. We continue to work closely with our partners in other agencies to do everything possible to keep our communities safe.”
●● Coun Steve Hughes (left) said Rawtenstall showed the biggest increase in crime because it was the borough’s ‘focal point’ while council leader Alyson Barnes (right) said police cuts made fighting crime harder