365 serious assaults reported in York city centre last year


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By Eloise McMinn Mitchell

A report shows police figures have recorded a rise in violent crime in York within the last year, averaging at one case of serious assault per day. Incidents of this nature are predominantly occurring on weekends, between 11pm and 4am and Saturday afternoons. York Council’s public protection team have also recorded an increase in noise complaints near pubs, clubs and bars of 27 per cent.

The report was written for council licensing bosses, in which the police focused on particular locations to which they responded to calls at most often: the five premises most frequently visited are in the vicinity of Blake Street, Clifford Street, Micklegate, George Hudson Street and Low Ousegate.

365 assaults in 2017/18 is a significant rise from the 2016/17 figure of 250. The report included that alcohol was involved in almost 50 per cent of the incidents. The Green councillor for Guildhall, Denise Craghill, stated that figures presented “a very real concern.” The BBC estimates that seven million tourists visit York every year, and the rise in crime presents a worry for visitors.

Craghill said: “we all know that for the majority of the time York still has a very attractive and safe city centre full of history, interesting independent shops and cultural attractions”. Although she agrees that the rising figures are worrying, “we always have to be a bit careful about how we interpret statistics.”

Labour Councillor Looker stated: “These figures will do nothing to allay the fears of those who claim the city centre is not somewhere to visit on Saturdays or weekend evenings, especially with children”. She urged the need to “listen carefully to the police on these matters” to ensure York is “welcoming.”

Not everything within the report presented a grim state of affairs. The police recorded a ten percent decrease in “anti social behaviour”.  This is behaviour that includes a wide range of actions that “cause harm to an individual, to their community or to their environment” according to the Police.UK website. It can also be action that results in leaving someone feeling “alarmed, harassed or distressed” as well as issues to do with public nuisance. The police believe the drop in anti-social behaviour is because of the efforts of council enforcement officers and York BID street rangers as well as the community safety hub.

The general sense in the wake of these reports is that there will be efforts to deal with the concerns raised in reaction to this report.  While the rise in serious assaults will concern many residents, York remains a central attraction of tourism and maintains a high standard of safety in comparison to other cities.