CRIME in Skelmersdale has fallen but anti-social behaviour and violence remain problems in the town according to the latest set of Home Office figures.
There were 3,743 recorded crimes in Skelmersdale from December 2011 to November 2012, compared to 4,514 on the previous figure.
There were 1,804 instances of anti-social behaviour in the town, and 461 violent crimes, compared to 2,118 and 465 on the previous year.
There were 1,034 ‘other’ crimes which include criminal damage, arson, theft, public disorder, weapons and shoplifting.
The website www.police.uk links crimes to approximate locations, so residents can understand where crime is happening in their neighbourhood
The statistics, which can be viewed by the public online, have also revealed that the area surrounding the Concourse is the town’s new crime hotspot.
There were 223 reported crimes around the Concourse, and 163 around the nearby Asda petrol station.
Skelmersdale North Councillor Neil Furey spent some time looking at the figures earlier this week.
He said: “Worryingly the numbers show large number of crimes are being committed within or close to Skelmersdale town centre.
“This is a major concern as there are ambitious plans to regenerate the town centre area, including creating a night time economy. Clearly, town centre policing and community safety will need to be examined further if we are to receive the full benefits of an improved town centre.
“Elsewhere in these figures they also reveal crime is being committed in Skelmersdale’s subways. The design of the new town is such that there are subways located across a wide area. Community Safety is very important and more needs to be done to prevent crime in subways.”
Inspector Christina Shorrock said: “The statistics should be viewed with caution as they incorporate figures for areas in the wider locality around the specifically names streets.
“Serious acquisitive crime i.e. burglary and auto crime and antisocial behaviour, are Community Safety Partnership priorities, we are working together with West Lancs Borough Council and multi agency partners to tackle issues and reduce crime.
“As previously reported, we continue to robustly patrol and protect our borders from cross border criminality, in addition to the ongoing work by neighbourhood policing teams, in raising awareness and providing crime prevention advice to members of the public, to ensure they secure vehicles and properties.
“The public should be reassured that all crime and disorder in West Lancs is low and currently we continue to achieve year-on-year reductions. Antisocial behaviour has reduced by almost 20% and serious acquisitive crime by 22.9%, and these reductions are clearly evidenced by those produced by Police.uk.
“We will continue to work in partnership with other agencies and West Lancs Borough Council to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour in West Lancs.”
A spokesman for West Lancashire Borough Council said: “The public should be reassured that crime is down in Skelmersdale, and incidents of anti-social behaviour are also down. The statistics should be viewed with caution as they incorporate figures for areas in the wider locality around the specifically-named streets.
“We are working together with the Police and multi agency partners to tackle issues and reduce crime in Skelmersdale and across the borough. Community safety partnership members meet regularly to tackle issues.”
View Skelmersdale Crime Map 2012 in a larger map
Town centre tops crime hot spot table
THIS map shows the top ten crime hotspots in our town.
This year’s figures show that the town centre is now experiencing more crime than other parts of Skelmersdale.
The statistics show that there were more crimes in the vicinity of the Concourse and the Asda petrol station than anywhere else in the town during the last year.
In December West Lancashire council’s planning committee gave the go-ahead for a £20m revamp of Skelmersdale town centre.
It could create 350 jobs and involves a five-screen cinema complex, restaurants and shops, a food store and petrol station and public spaces.
The project is expected to create new links between the development and existing parts of the town centre, such as The Concourse shopping centre and West Lancashire College.
There are also plans afoot for a new youth zone, in a county council initiative aiming to provide more facilities for young people.
However Councillor Neil Furey told the Advertiser that this development could actually exacerbate the existing problem of town centre crime rather than improve it.
He said: “If the night time economy is developed in our town it could lead to even more anti-social behaviour.”
Last year’s top ten areas comprised: Firbeck, Inglewhite, Blakehall, Cherrycroft, Banksbarn, Abbeywood, Back Lane, Enstone, Ennerdale and Elmridge.
West Lancashire community safety partnership is holding an information event for residents at the Concourse on Friday morning.
Lancashire Police, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, and West Lancashire Borough Council Anti-Social Behaviour team staff and street scene and dog control enforcement officers will attend.The information day will start about 10.30am and will be based on the ground floor.