Robbery, drug offences and violent crime soar in Wigan
Reports of robberies, knife crime, drugs offences and anti-social behaviour in the borough have soared in the past year, worrying new figures reveal.
Officers from Greater Manchester Police saw significant rises in these serious crimes being committed across Wigan.
But there was good news in other areas, with a decrease in the number of thefts and burglaries, perhaps as more people stayed at home during the coronavirus pandemic.
The new data has been obtained after a request to the force under the Freedom of Information Act and covers crimes reported between November 1, 2019 and October 31, 2020, as well as the same period in the year before.
The largest rise came in reports of drugs offences, up 41.8 per cent from 419 to 594.
Knife crime increased by 41.2 per cent, with 329 incidents in 2019-20 compared to 233 the year before, while robberies went up by 33.4 per cent, from 302 to 403.
Anti-social behaviour also soared, rising 22.5 per cent from 5,910 to 7,237.
There was little change in the most serious crimes, with five murders and no attempted murders recorded for each 12-month period.
Reports of rape dropped by just one, from 259 to 258 (0.4 per cent), while there was a 5.3 per cent drop in sexual assaults, from 510 to 483. The most significant improvements were in reports of thefts, which fell 16.3 per cent from 4,742 to 3,970, and a 13.6 per cent drop in burglaries, from 2,700 to 2,334.
Car crime dropped by nine per cent, from 2,321 to 2,112, assaults were down 6.9 per cent from 2,642 to 2,461, and criminal damage fell by 3.8 per cent from 3,982 to 3,831.
Chief Insp Liz Sanderson, of Greater Manchester Police’s Wigan district, said: “Our officers are committed to working alongside our partners, ensuring Wigan is a safe area for our communities.
“We initially saw a decrease in crime during the start of lockdown, earlier this year, particularly in relation to robbery and burglary with the majority of people spending long periods of time at home. Since the easing of restrictions was announced, we are seeing crime return to levels more in line with pre-Covid norms.
“As part of the force-wide initiative Operation Valiant, which aims to reduce the number of personal robberies across Greater Manchester and keep people’s belongings safe, we have dedicated patrols in hot-spot areas to deter offenders and provide visible reassurance to the public.
“Drugs can have a hugely detrimental impact on communities and be distressing for residents. Wigan neighbourhood policing teams proactively review intelligence relating to the supply of illegal substances and when appropriate we will obtain warrants to target carry out raids and target offenders, the results of which we feedback to residents so that they can be confident that it is an offence that will not be tolerated and is being tackled by GMP.
“We are currently working closely with our partners Wigan Council to tackle anti-social behaviour in the area. This includes undertaking joint patrols with staff from the council’s community resilience team and targeted youth services.
“The support of the local community is crucial – information they give us helps form our operations. Therefore, I would continue to ask that if anyone has concerns about drug dealing where they live, that they report it to us on 101 or 999 if it’s an emergency, or you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111. You can also give us information via LiveChat on our website at www.gmp.police.uk.”
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