Anti-social behaviour in Bournemouth has fallen to its lowest level since data was first made available over three years ago.
Police figures show that there were just 785 recorded incidents in January and 809 in February – compared to 1,161 and 1,095 during the same months in 2011. There were 12,235 incidents last year, compared to 13,572 in 2012 and 15,177 in 2011. This marks a 9 per cent fall in anti-social behaviour between February 2013 and February 2014.
The statistics also show a dramatic drop in anti-social behaviour in student areas of Bournemouth. Winton saw 573 incidents between March 2013 and February of this year, down from 645 during the same months a year before, and 766 the year before that. The area saw just 29 incidents in January, the lowest since relevant data became available in 2010.
‘Things are not perfect and there is still work to be done’ – Councillor Pat Oakley
Winton councillor Pat Oakley said that the key to falling figures was relations between different sections of the community, such as the student Community Wardens Scheme involving Bournemouth University. “Even the most cynical cannot help but be impressed that Winton’s falling anti-social behaviour is so much better than the rest if the UK,” he said.
“It is no exaggeration to say that in Bournemouth there is now a now a level of community engagement that you just don’t find in other towns,” he added. “It’s true things are not perfect and there is still work to be done.” Winton also saw a 15 per cent drop in the total number of incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour over the past year.
Students’ Union of Bournemouth University Community Officer Coralie Wood was part of the Community Warden Scheme. She said: “We have had positive feedback from residents at our surgeries and when visiting houses door to door, as well as from students who might not have realised the consequences of a noise abatement notice before.”
Ms Wood also helped launch the Lock It or Lose It campaign, which encouraged students to look after their personal property in the Winton area. She said: “Reminding students that they can be victims of crime in their own home has hopefully led to greater vigilance and a decline in crime by removing the opportunity for potential burglaries.” The scheme involved both Bournemouth University and the Arts University Bournemouth.
The Breaker reported yesterday that the socially deprived area of Boscombe has seen a 10 per cent drop in anti-social behaviour incidents over the past year.
Boscombe West councillor Jane Kelly said enforcement was the key to her area’s success. “Our police Safer Neighbourhood Team have been working hard to crack down on the drug activity by targeting dealers, collecting evidence and carrying out a great number of raids to catch these criminals who prey upon vulnerable
people,” she said. “Gradually, our aim is to make anti-social behaviour unusual in Boscombe, not the norm. Street drinking will be frowned upon, rather than tolerated, drug activity of kinds will not be blatant, and there will be repercussions for any behaviour that spoils the normal day-to-day living of residents and visitors to Boscombe.”
Bournemouth Town Centre has also witnessed the least disturbance during this time frame, with just 202 incidents in February compared to a high of 383 in May 2012. Anti-social behaviour levels could be affected further by the new Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act, set to come into force in coming months. The Act will give further powers to councils to tackle such incidents.