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Police warning over violent crime

PUBLISHED: 11:39 23 April 2004 | UPDATED: 04:47 02 March 2010

A POLICE inspector today vowed to fight a rising tide of violent crime in Stowmarket, while also continuing to target drug dealers.

Jon Brighton, mid Suffolk sector commander, was speaking as he revealed the town's crime figures for the year beginning in April 2003.

A POLICE inspector today vowed to fight a rising tide of violent crime in Stowmarket, while also continuing to target drug dealers.

Jon Brighton, mid Suffolk sector commander, was speaking as he revealed the town's crime figures for the year beginning in April 2003.

They show a 46 per cent increase in numbers of assaults, from 145 to 212, with incidents of criminal damage rising from 258 to 316, a jump of 22pc.

Burglaries of homes rose from 40 to 48, while burglaries of other buildings, such as sheds and garages, showed a dramatic reduction, from 86 to 50.

The number of motorvehicle thefts remained the same, at 13, although thefts from motorvehicles increased from 58 to 65.

Insp Brighton admitted there are areas of concern, but said the force had been successful in minimising overall crime.

"I feel that through our zoned policing philosophy and our partnerships within the community we've managed to keep crime down," he said.

"The two areas of concern are violent crime, particularly in public places, and the increase in antisocial behaviour. These are two areas we're addressing."

The majority of assaults are alcohol-related and in cases where the assailant knew the victim.

Reports of domestic violence are also being brought to the attention of the police in increasing numbers, according to Insp Brighton, as are instances of criminal damage.

He said the problem of drugs is an issue under constant focus.

"It's something we're acutely aware of," he said. "Drugs such as crack cocaine and heroin can have a big affect on crime levels and it's something we're targeting.

"I know through intelligence there is heroin in the town but the users are small in number."

Although cocaine and ecstasy have been seized during the year, the majority of drug use centres around cannabis, with 38 seizures, up by seven on last year.

Insp Brighton said: "We've basically got the same drug culture in the town this year as we did last year.

"We'll work to continue to target drug dealers and keep them out of our rural town."

Barry Salmon, town mayor, said the amount of low-level crime, such as vandalism, is of particular concern.

"It's stupid, serves no purpose and costs the town council an enormous amount of money to put right," he said.

The figures have yet to be officially audited by the constabulary's headquarters and are approximate to the nearest couple of crimes.

What do you think of crime levels in Stowmarket? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or join the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk


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