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Woodbridge - new crime hot-spot

PUBLISHED: 10:25 28 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:27 03 March 2010

THE genteel image of an historic market town has been shattered by new figures revealing it has one of the worst rates in Suffolk for public disorder.

Statistics unveiled by Suffolk Constabulary show that the centre of Woodbridge is a new ''hot spot'' and it has a crime rate that would surprise many people.

THE genteel image of an historic market town has been shattered by new figures revealing it has one of the worst rates in Suffolk for public disorder.

Statistics unveiled by Suffolk Constabulary show that the centre of Woodbridge is a new ''hot spot'' and it has a crime rate that would surprise many people.

The number of incidents was not high but residents have complained that the anti-social behaviour by gatherings of mainly young people in the town causes a great deal of aggravation.

The alarming figures provoked a new call for closed circuit television cameras from traders in the main shopping street.

Woodbridge centre had the third highest rate in Suffolk, behind Ipswich's entertainment area and Lowesoft harbour, for disturbances in a public place. The county average was nearly eight incidents per 1,000 residents. Woodbridge had a rate of 36, Lowestoft was second with 44 and Ipswich top with 60 incidents. In Hadleigh, where cameras now operate, the rate has fallen to eight incidents per 1,000 people.

Woodbridge's town centre was the seventh worst place for public disorder with a rate of 61 incidents per 1,000 people. The average was 22 and Ipswich town centre was top with 148 followed by Lowestoft harbour with 100. The Abbeygate area of Bury St Edmunds had a rate of 76, and south Felixstowe had a rate of 58. The figures related to 12 months ending last March.

Barretts of Woodbridge led a traders' campaign last year for cameras and organised a petition with more than 300 signatures calling for the crime surveillance equipment. But the town was told there was not enough money available from the Home Office to finance a scheme.

Barretts had a large glass window smashed a few days ago. General manager Paul Vale said CCTV would make people think twice before causing damage.

''CCTV would curb them going over the top. Damage, for this time of year, is worse than average, and we are worried the summer will also be worse,'' said Mr Vale.

He warned that the damage to businesses in Woodbridge could have a spin-off for householders with increased insurance premiums.

Trevor Brundle, sector commander for Woodbridge police, said a person was being dealt with in connection with the damaged window and police had arrested several young people at the weekend following reports of damage to a bus shelter at the Turban Centre.

''We will assess what the statistics say and we will continue to monitor hot spots like we did last weekend. Both as a deterrent and as a detection assistance, CCTV would definitely still be of great advantage in Woodbridge, particularly as a small number of cameras would cover a lot of the small number of hot spots that we have,'' said Insp Brundle.

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