Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour
Co-ordinated partnership activity has seen steady decreases in crime and disorder over recent years. However, the public's perception of crime does not always reflect this success, as perceptions of crime may often be at odds with official statistics. As people are affected by what they see, hear or feel, negative perceptions around crime and disorder and the way in which it is being tackled can have a detrimental impact on people's quality of life. Issues such as vandalism, graffiti, drunk or rowdy behaviour and drug dealing can all feature high on the public radar, leaving them feeling unsafe. This demonstrates how important it is to increase public confidence, whilst continuing to tackle issues of crime and anti-social behaviour.
Anti-social-behaviour (ASB) is any any act causing harassment, alarm or distress that damages or destroys the quality of life of an individual or a community. It covers a broad range of actions or behaviours. Some of these can be classed as crimes such as vandalism, drug dealing or drunk or disorderly behaviour. Others may not be classed as crimes, but can still have a serious impact on an individual or a local community, actions such as dumping of litter or rubbish, verbal abuse, and noise disturbance.
Recorded crime offences
Crime and fear of crime feature regularly as key issues afflicting individuals and communities. Crime can have a detrimental impact upon people's quality of life in a number of ways: individuals can be physically victimised (e.g. assaulted), materially victimised (e.g. burgled), or psychologically victimised (e.g. afraid to leave the house or walk alone after dark).
The negative effects of crime are not just restricted to those individuals who are personally victimised, but also transfer to friends, family, neighbours and colleagues. If left unchecked, these problems may become self-reinforcing, as more and more people in an area experience victimisation, either personally or via someone they know.
If such problems persist over time, a neighbourhood may gain a reputation as a dangerous place to live, resulting in population out-migration, which can further reinforce the cycle of decline.
Crime rates in St.Helens have reduced significantly in recent years. Given the ongoing budgetary pressures facing Merseyside Police, there will be undoubtedly be challenging times ahead in maintaining the crime reductions of previous years. However, the Community Safety Partnership is well placed to manage such changes, with robust multi-agency processes in place to coordinate initiatives and resource allocation via the Neighbourhood Action Groups in each Police Neighbourhood.
Local Transport Network
St.Helens has an extensive bus and rail network, providing regular connections to neighbouring towns and cities. It enjoys a strategic position at the heart of the regional road network, placed almost centrally between the core cities of Manchester, 15 miles to the east, and Liverpool, 12 miles to the west.
Access to services
The lack of access to suitable employment opportunities, education and training, advice provision, business support and other key services can contribute towards poor outcomes for those most at risk of experiencing deprivation. Poor access to services can be a particular issue for groups including lone parents, older groups, people whose mobility is limited or for those who live in areas where public transportation is poor.
The Borough covers an area of 136 square Kilometres, about half of which is designated greenbelt or open space. Households are defined as being 'significant' distances from key services if they are at least 6-8 km from the nearest service. In St.Helens and in each Ward, no household is judged to be more than 6-8Km from the nearest key service.
Access to transport
The level of deaths and injury on the roads is a major concern. There is a key focus on improving road safety and reducing the number of fatalities and serious injuries, particular those involving children and young people, through a programme of engineering measures, education programmes and speed enforcement.
As a Council and with our partners, we are keen to protect our local environment, increase sustainability and reduce any negative impact we may be having on climate change. Some of the areas on which we are focussing include, improving waste management processes, improving the public transport network, reducing the energy consumption in public buildings, implementing air quality management plans and carefully managing our local conservation sites. These actions all contribute to protecting and enhancing the area in which we live and work.
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