Crime stats plummet in town centre

The Hardshaw Centre
The Hardshaw Centre

CRIME plummeted in St Helens town centre in the last year, according to the latest figures.

At the latest quarterly meeting of the Town Centre Working Group - which comprises of police, retailers, the council and St Helens Chamber - it was revealed that there were 157 fewer crimes from April 2010-11 than in the previous 12 months.

The figures relate to the retail shopping area of the town centre and not the residential areas.

Incidents of public disorder nosedived by 54 per cent, fraud and forgery by 37 per cent, violence by 24 per cent and theft by 16 per cent. Although more shoplifting incidents were recorded.

Personal crime, such as pickpocketing, dropped by 17 per cent and drug-related town centre crimes by nine per cent.

Criminal damage was down five per cent - but criminal damage on a motor vehicle by 48 per cent - and burglary was down 17 per cent.

The overall 11 per cent crime reduction has been attributed to the police’s Operation Santiago, which is aimed at targeting town centre crime.

The initiative was brought to life after the police received funding from both St Helens Council and St Helens Chamber and, in many cases, restorative justice and fixed penalty fines have been used.

Deputy council leader Barrie Grunewald said: “At a time when town centres nationally are suffering in the current economic climate it is extremely good news that our investment in tackling crime and disorder both in the town centre and across the borough is paying dividends.”