Crime Figures Creep Up Across Borough

Top cop blames Westfield, the weather and burglars released from prison

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20 million extra visitors to the borough since the opening of Westfield, the release of several prolific burglars and "unusually mild weather" have all contributed to crime figures creeping up in Hammersmith and Fulham, according to our top policeman.

Borough Commander Kevin Hurley points out that crime has fallen for six years running, with 34,000 fewer crimes committed since 2003 – but a combination of factors has increased the challenges faced by local police during 2010.

He says: " Crimes like robbery, burglary and theft of motor-vehicles have all halved in our borough over the past five years so this year’s figures are being compared with some of the best crime statistics that we have ever seen locally.

" We have an excellent track record but we are not comparing like with like any more."

There were 12,368 crimes committed across the borough in the six months to September 30, 2010 – which is 5% up on the previous year.

In particular, figures from Shepherd's Bush Green ward show a 127 % increase in robberies since 2008. This increase has been put down to the massive surge of people visiting the borough since the opening of Westfield shopping centre. Around 50,000 more people are now visiting H&F and the number of assaults in Shepherd's Bush Green ward is up by 12%.

Borough Commander Hurley says: " The Shepherd's Bush Green area remains an area of some concern in the evenings at weekends. As can be the case in town centres, the abuse of alcohol is causing a small increase in some assaults. Together with colleagues from the council we are dealing with this issue."

Fulham Broadway ward also saw the number of burglaries jump to 66 in the first six months of this year – compared to 27 in the equivalent period last year.

" The unusually mild weather in April and May caused some people to leave their ground floor windows open and combined with a small number of prolific burglars being released from prison this resulted in an increase in burglaries in Fulham," says Mr Hurley. " However, I am pleased to say that arrests have been made and this upward trend has now been reversed with the number of burglaries falling once again."

However, the news is not all bad. The latest borough-wide crime stats show theft falling by 6% – from 1,588 offences in the first six months of last to 1,487 offences this year.

number of woundings, or GBH, has tumbled by 26% and theft of a motor-vehicle has also been slashed by 12% – from 380 offences to 334.

Arrests of drug-users and drug-pushers is also up by 6%.

The council has welcomed the Borough Commander’s reassurances over burglaries and the issues in Shepherds Bush and praised the work of front-line police.

Cllr Greg Smith, H&F Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services, says: " Our local bobbies are doing an excellent job in tough circumstances. More burglars, thieves and violent yobs are now behind bars thanks to their zero-tolerance approach."

November 19, 2010