How safe is your street? Sex and violent crime doubles in Halifax

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Shocking figures show violent and sexual crimes in parts of Halifax have risen by nearly 50 per cent in four years.

Crime maps produced for the Courier, focusing on HX post code areas, provide an insight into the changing nature of crime in the area.

Figures show violent and sexual crimes rose from 1,550 offences in 2011/12 to 3027 by the end of July this year.

But police chiefs say that changes in the way crimes are recorded and increased victim confidence to report offences has led to increases in recorded violent and sexual offences.

The areas showing the biggest increase in violent and sexual crimes in the period included Ripponden, Rishworth, Sowerby Bridge and Sowerby (HX6 1), which saw a 181 per cent increase, Elland and Blackley (HX5 9), which saw a 167 per cent increase and the HX3 6 postcode area covering Boothtown, Hipperholme, Lightcliffe, Norwood Green, Northowram, Ovenden, Shelf, Skircoat Green and Southowram, which saw a 155 per cent increase.

The highest actual number of violent and sexual crimes between August 2014 and July 2015 was recorded in the Halifax Town area (HX 1), and the HX2 8 postcode area, covering Highroad Well, Illingworth, Luddenden, Luddenden Foot, Midgley, Mixenden, Mount Tabor, Norton Tower, Ogden, Wainstalls and Warley Town.

In response to the figures Superintendent Operations, Owen West, said: “This reflects the trend nationally and is also as a result of a change in recording practices which puts victims as the focus and has their crime reports recorded at the earliest opportunity.

“This results in a better service with victims reassured that their calls are responded to quickly and effectively.

“Rates of violent offending in West Yorkshire remain low compared to other similar sized force areas.”

Halifax MP Holly Lynch said: “Police say these alarming statistics can be explained by an increase in those coming forward and reporting offences, but we cannot afford to be complacent.

“The UK has seen the biggest cuts to any police service in Europe and the Tories are set to cut officer numbers even further. Access to justice is also being compromised as our local courts are threatened with closure.

“The government needs to realise that their irresponsible cuts are putting public safety at risk, particularly vulnerable women and children.”

The maps also reveal pockets where burglaries and vehicle crime have risen by more than 50 per cent in the four-year period, bucking the downward trend.

The HX7 8 postcode, covering Hebden Bridge, Heptonstall, Mytholmroyd and Old Town, saw a 145 per cent increase in burglaries, rising from 11 in 2011/12 to 27 in 2014/15.

And the HX4 8 postcode area, covering Barkisland, Greetland, Holywell Green, Sowood, Stainland and West Vale saw a 51 per cent increase, rising from 35 in 2011/12 to 53 in 2014/15.

But the majority of areas have in fact recorded a decrease in burglaries, with HX4 9 (61 per cent) and HX2 8 (57 per cent) showing the most significant reductions.

Police say that overall numbers of burglaries have reduced significantly over the last three years, with a reduction of 31 per cent across Calderdale.

The number of anti social behaviour offences decreased in all but one area - HX4 0 - which saw a 73 per cent increase from 15 in 2011/12 to 26 in 2014/15.

And the reduction in some offences mirrors the forcewide trend of an overall reduction in crime.

Total crimes, which occurred in the areas shown in our maps, have reduced by around 12 per cent from 17,658 in 2011/12 to 15,560 in 2014/15.

The biggest drop in overall crime in the past four years was recorded in the HX4 9 post code area, which covers areas including Barkisland, Greetland, Holywell Green, Sowood, Stainland and West Vale, where there was a reduction of 30 per cent.

And despite a 181 per cent increase in violent and sexual crimes, a 28 per cent reduction in overall crime was recorded in HX6 1 and 25 per cent in HX6 2, post codes which both cover the Sowerby Bridge area.

Superintendent West added: “The figures shown in these maps show that overall crime in Calderdale District, is continuing to fall, as it is across the rest of the Force.

“Police in the district are committed to doing everything we can to deliver the best quality service to support the public, investing in the very latest technology to support the work of our frontline staff and looking to deploy our resources in the most cost effective and efficient way. We are constantly developing our procedures to ensure crimes are recorded accurately, offering the best possible service to victims ensuring they are confident that their concerns will be taken seriously and dealt with positively and robustly.”

The crime maps were produced for the Courier by www.locationcounts.co.uk