Shock at 20pc crime surge in town

Rossendale Free Press - - Front Page - STE­FAN JAJECZNYK ste­fan.jajecznyk@reach­plc.com @sja­jecznykMEN

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.”

Geo­graph

●● 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

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