It’s fair to say that the number one issue on the minds of Westhoughton residents right now is crime in the town.
In recent weeks and months we’ve all heard horrific stories of armed robberies at local businesses, violent attacks in the streets and family homes being ransacked by thieves.
But one question many people have wondered is this: is crime actually getting worse?
To answer that question Westhoughton Liberal Democrats have analysed crime reports from January 2015 until November 2017 for both Westhoughton North with Chew Moor and Westhoughton South wards. This is what we found.
The number of reported crimes across Westhoughton is actually increasing.
Our analysis shows a steady increase in the average number of crimes reported each month. The grey dotted line in the graph below shows the average increase.
Whilst there are fluctuations from month-to-month it is this longer term analysis that demonstrates our concerns about increasing levels of crime.
What’s worse is that violent crime in particular appears to be on the rise. This is the number of violent crimes reported between December 2016 and November 2017 in Westhoughton North:
What are the outcomes from all of these reported crimes? Well, taking the general crime figures for Westhoughton North over the same one year period as an example, just 2.25% of the reported crimes ended in the offender being dealt with at court. There was no further action in 84% of cases:
The change also correlates with a reduction in Westhoughton’s policing team – from four police officers there are now just two covering our area. And even with those few officers, it has emerged that officers have had to be pulled in from the other side of Bolton when there has been no one to cover the town.
This is why Westhoughton town councillors David Wilkinson and Bernadette Eckersley-Fallon are calling for Westhoughton’s axed police officers to be brought back.
David said: “Our town is not getting any smaller yet the policing team is. People are quite rightly worried about crime in the area and we need to turn this around urgently before it gets any worse. We need our police officers back.”
Bernadette added: “We are calling on Bolton West MP Chris Green to demand more resources for Greater Manchester Police from his boss Theresa May.”
Across Greater Manchester, police numbers have been slashed by 2,000 – yet at the same time they are having to deal with new threats such as terrorism, putting further strain on local policing.
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