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Robbery and drug crime up in North

By Staff Reporter

Annual statistics published by the PSNI have shown a 3.6 per cent increase in recorded crime across A District, which includes North and West Belfast. In North Belfast the increase in recorded crime is a result of higher numbers of robbery (+15.7 per cent), violence without injury (+22.6 per cent), theft (+5 per cent) and drug offences (+16.4 per cent) being reported.

Despite these increases the statistics show reductions in other categories of criminal offences, including sexual offences, which have declined by 6.5 per cent.

Domestic burglary and vehicle offences have dropped by 8.4 per cent and 4.4 per cent respectively. There have also been improvements in relation to theft and non-domestic burglary, and shoplifting.

Kate Clarke, from New Lodge Safer Streets, said that despite the statistics, she believed her area had incurred less crime in recent months.

“At a multi-agency meeting this week, we were told there had been no robberies in a six week period,” she said.

“Also we had a spate of house break-ins just after Christmas, but the police have cracked down on those who carried them out so there has been less of them recently.

She said that she worried about the increase of organized fights on social media, incidents of which have been reported in the North Belfast News.

However, she said that the New Lodge had “settled down” in recent months.

She urged people to report all crime and added: “The message I would put out is that people need to tell us about crime, because an awful lot goes unreported.

“But there’s nothing we can do about it unless we know about it.”

The newly appointed Area Commander for North Belfast, Chief Inspector Bobby Singleton said; “Some of the figures are obviously of concern to us as they will be to the community.

“Policing in North Belfast has undoubtedly been challenging over the last 12 months with terrorist attacks on officers and an ongoing significant policing commitment to parades and associated protests. Despite this we’ve worked hard to ensure that as far as practicable these things do not impact on day-to-day policing.

“That being said, with the support of the community we will do all we can to improve our policing service and meet the expectations of those across all of North Belfast.”

According to the report there was a 2.3 per cent increase in crime across the whole of Northern Ireland, from 100,389 crimes in 2012/13 to 102,746 in 2013/14, though it was still the second lowest annual level recorded since 1998/99.

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