Great Yarmouth’s streets with highest crime revealed to be in two most deprived wards
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011
Great Yarmouth’s top ten worst-offending streets for crime since the start of the pandemic were almost exclusively within its two most deprived wards.
From the beginning of April until the end of August 2020, which is as far as police incident maps stretch, the highest number of crimes by residential area were in the Nelson and Central and Northgate wards.
In that five-month period, 60 crimes were reported on Dene Side alone, which topped the list for 2020.
Violence and sexual offences accounted for 18 of the reports, and public order offences for 11. This is compared to 13 and four the year before.
These trends are consistent across Great Yarmouth as a whole for the duration of the pandemic.
Between April-August 2018, 1760 violent and sexual offences were reported. But in 2020, this jumps by 15pc to 2040. Public order offences have also increased by 44pc from 438 to 630.
Burglaries, meanwhile, have decreased by 25pc, vehicle crime by 54pc, shoplifting by 50pc and theft from the person by 44pc.
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According to Norfolk police, during the peak of the pandemic in April and May of this year, Great Yarmouth saw the lowest total of crimes recorded in the last 12 months, tallying up 791 and 625 reports compared to an average of 869 between October 2019-September 2020.
But when broken down to street level, crime levels remained consistent in the borough’s “top ten” hotspots.
In fact, statistics show Dene Side, Nottingham Way, Euston Road and King Street failed to drop out of the top ten at any point between April-August 2018-2020.
Norfolk Constabulary explained that deprivation, caused by dense population levels and a high amount of rented housing, has a “challenging” knock-effect on crime levels in the Nelson and Central and Northgate wards.
It said: “The police are not blind to these issues and have been tackling them for 15 years via a crackdown on county lines and the creation of a Public Spaces Protection Order.
“We also championed the council to establish the first selective licensing area in the county, which puts greater scrutiny on private landlords.”
The borough council said as a “responsible landlord” it does not tolerate crime or anti-social behaviour on its estates, and “encourages tenants to report issues so action can be taken”.
But one man who lives in the Middlegate Estate, and did not want to be named, said things “seemed to have become worse” over the three years he has lived there, and became particularly acute during the first national lockdown.
He said: “Just the other month my car was vandalised, costing me £600 to have it fixed. I didn’t bother calling the police, because I think they’re intimidated coming here.
“At the beginning of lockdown, there were so many people going in and out of these flats doing God knows what, and a lot of vandalism when teenagers weren’t at school.
“Some roads feel pretty lawless. You just have to put up with it.”
Mike Smith-Clare, borough councillor for Central and Northgate, said it was “tragic but inevitable” that deprived areas were seeing a rise in domestic-related crimes.
He said: “For people already living difficult lives the pandemic has become a toxic tipping point. It’s no surprise people are struggling right now.”
Carrie Talbot, also representing the Central and Northgate ward, said it was a case of the “caged animal theory”.
She said: “People were trapped inside without support, and had it drilled into their heads they needed to protect the NHS.
“They ignored their own problems, and probably quite often acted out of character. I’m worried this will happen again during another lockdown.”
Kerry Robinson-Payne, councillor for the Nelson ward, said it was important to remember how strong communities were despite the challenges they face.
“These two wards have a lot of issues, and feed directly into one another”, she said.
“But my ward also has some fantastic community groups in it. There was such an effort over the first lockdown for people to do food and medicine runs, and check in on neighbours.
“The statistics don’t give the full story - which is that people are trying to do better and are helping each other through these difficult times.”