17% crime rise statistics ‘support view that Leighton Buzzard is an easy target’

A quarterly policing report for Leighton Buzzard and Linslade has shown that crime has risen but anti-social behaviour has fallen.

The statistics, prepared for the town council by Beds Police, compare the three-month period up to January 3 this year with the same period a year earlier.

Leighton Buzzard

Leighton Buzzard

And the data shows that recorded crime has risen 17.6% from 595 to 700 incidents overall, with a break down revealing Leighton Buzzard rising from 536 to 629 (17.4%) and Linslade 59 to 71 (20.3%).

The worst increases have seen public order offences rise from 31 to 50 (61.3%), violence (without injury) increase from 45 to 66 incidents (46.7%), stalking/harrassment up from 28 to 54 (92.9%), burglary non dwelling up from 17 to 48 (182.4%), and other theft 67 to 97 (44.8%).

On the flipside shoplifting has dropped from 77 incidents to 53 (-31.2%) – although two shops have recently reported increasing problems from 4pm onwards – and burglary dwelling from 50 to 39 (-22%).

The top crime scene locations for the three months are listed as Billington Road (44 incidents) and Vimy Road (10), with other areas in single figures.

Anti-social behaviour reports for October to December 2018 have totalled 155 which is down 28 from the same quarter in 2017.

Councillor Amanda Dodwell said: “Whichever way you look at it, an increase of over 17% in recorded crime is not good, and is indicative of the inadequate police resources that are allocated to Leighton-Linslade.

“There is a perception among the town’s residents that we are seen as an easy target, and these latest figures tend to support that view.

“Recorded incidents of burglary against non-residential properties has risen almost three-fold. We currently have a real problem with break-ins into outbuildings and sheds – whilst this may seem relatively trivial to some, it can have a massive impact on the victims.”

Cllr Dodwell added: “It is encouraging to see a significant decrease in anti-social behaviour. I know our local Community Policing Team have been prioritising this. They have been working closely with Central Bedfordshire Council to tackle street drinking and unruly behaviour around the town centre, and it is good to see their efforts paying off.”

Inspector Craig Gurr, from the Leighton Buzzard Community Policing team said: “‘An increase in reported crime is not confined to Leighton Buzzard, but is a national trend.

“The Community Team has focused on driving down anti-social behaviour in the town, in line with the community priorities set with residents.

“While this has seen a positive result, we will continue to deal with all kinds of criminality. There have recently been significant arrests made in the town. Criminals coming to Leighton Buzzard thinking it is an easy target are in for a surprise.”