Revealed: One ward in Ipswich accounts for nearly a third of all violent crime reports in the town – but the number is falling
- Credit: Archant
NEARLY a third of every violent crime committed in Ipswich took place in ONE ward, a Star investigation has discovered.
Home to the bulk of Ipswich’s so-called ‘night-time economy’, the Alexandra ward witnessed more than 2,300 serious offences – including GBH and racially aggravated assault – between January 2010 and April this year.
The number is in stark contrast to the most peaceful ward in Ipswich, Castle Hill, which saw just 100 violent crimes reported during the same period.
Despite the large number of incidents in Alexandra, there has been a dramatic decrease in violent crimes across much of the town.
Gainsborough has seen the biggest reduction – from 183 in 2010, to 109 last year, while Holywells, Sprites, St Johns, St Margarets, Westgate, Whitehouse and Whitton also saw decreases.
The figures, which can be published following a Freedom of Information request, come after Suffolk police announced crime has dropped for seven years in a row – despite the Institute for Economics and Peace listing Ipswich as the most violent town in the country.
Temporary inspector for Ipswich Central safer neighbourhood team, Danny Cooper, said: “It is all very well to say there is a reduction but there are still a number of assaults and people being subjected to violent crimes and that is what drives us on – there is still a long way to go.
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“Violent crime is one of our priorities so it is only right that we put resources into that.”
Leading police and community figures say the large numbers of reports in the Alexandra area are down to the town centre’s high volume of bars and clubs.
Borough councillor for Alexandra ward, Harvey Crane, said: “I have lived in the ward since 1996 so I would say it is a pretty safe place and there is a very good Neighbourhood Watch Scheme covering most of it.
“From my experience I would say it is very much down to Friday and Saturday nights.
“I wouldn’t want people to think it is a bad area. There is quite a good community spirit.
“I would like to see more in the way of additional policing. There are already things being done but anything else that can help would be great.”
Reports of violent crimes in the ward peaked in 2011 at 740 and dropped last year to 697. Up to April 11 this year, 168 violent crimes were reported.
Suffolk police and crime commissioner, Tim Passmore, has previously called for more action in tackling alcohol-fuelled violence.
He said: “I don’t know the exact cost but I gather that the extra requirements for policing as a whole for Friday and Saturday nights is five times more than the rest of the week put together.
“Violent crime or any disturbance is completely unacceptable. The police and the council are working very hard to eradicate this completely.
“It is a fundamental part of the police and crime plan – it is very important that we deal with these issues because it damages the reputation of parts of Ipswich and the county as a whole.”