TODAY the Advertiser can reveal a street-by-street crime map of our town – pin-pointing the worst hit areas.
Figures released by the Home Office show how many crimes are reported in each area on a monthly basis.
The statistics highlight Firbeck as the crime capital of Skelmersdale.
Attributing incidents reported to the police to a location “on or near” where it happened, www.police.uk builds a detailed picture of criminal activity on our streets.
The latest figures were the twelfth set released, making it possible to build a year-long map of crime hotspots. From December 2010 to November 2011, 466 crimes were reported on or near the Birch Green estate of Firbeck.
This is far greater than the next highest area, Inglewhite, which had 324. The statistics include a cocktail of crimes – from anti-social behaviour to acts of violence – and also reveal Skelmersdale has a crime rate higher than the national average.
The biggest problem for both Skelmersdale and Firbeck is anti-social behaviour.
During the twelve months figures are available for, more than 100 reports of anti-social behaviour were made every month in the town, reaching a high-point of 259 in October, 53 of which were in the Firbeck area. However, with crimes allocated to certain points “on or near” where they were reported, it is accepted some streets become focal points for crimes in surrounding areas.
Believing the figures to be unrepresentative, Hazel Scully, who lives on Firbeck, accused the website of “scare-mongering”.
She said: “We do not need a website set up that says, ‘excuse me, your area is rife with people who are the bad eggs of society’ when you are not, and why should we have to put up with that? I think this website should close down and they should have a rethink about how they actually attribute where these crimes are...to frighten them (homeowners in the worst areas) with these figures is disgusting.”
Cllr Terry Aldridge, whose Digmoor ward includes several crime hotspots, added: “I never seem to have problems with people complaining to me about crime... I think we have it pretty reasonable in the Digmoor area.”
Sergeant Andy Willis, geographic co-ordinator for West Lancashire, urged caution when interpreting the figures, and explained the police were taking action against crime.
He said: “Our focus continues to be on iconic crimes such as dwelling burglaries, which have seen a 19% reduction over the same time period, and violent crime which has seen an 18% fall, as well as issues which affect quality of life such as anti-social behaviour.”