Huge crime hike in Welwyn Hatfield, police reveal
PUBLISHED: 17:23 20 July 2017 | UPDATED: 17:23 20 July 2017
Welwyn Hatfield has seen hate crimes, shoplifting and drug trafficking skyrocket in the last year, latest figures have revealed.
Crime in the borough has soared 20.4 per cent in the last financial year compared to 2015/16, with a total of 8,690 incidents recorded by police.
Officers put the rise mainly down to increased reporting and efficiency, but a police spokesman confirmed there were undoubtedly some areas that had worsened.
Welwyn Hatfield’s largest spike was in hate crime, which increased 61 per cent from 67 to 108.
Former borough councillor Michal Siewniak, who is originally from Poland, said the rise post-Brexit has been “really upsetting” for him.
“I’m aware of it and have seen a lot of stats in the last year, particularly after Brexit,” he told the WHT. “Obviously there is still an issue with hate crime.
“That doesn’t just apply to EU nationals, as there are [also] a lot more incidents aimed at Muslim communities.”
Shoplifting was previously highlighted by local police chiefs as a priority, but nonetheless it has spiralled 36.8 per cent, with 1,051 reports compared to 768 the previous year.
Drug trafficking has also increased (28.6 per cent), again despite it being a police focus area throughout the year.
Newly-appointed Welwyn Hatfield Chief Inspector Ruth Dodsworth said: “The spike in figures, while it looks alarming, is largely due to our proactivity around targeting shoplifting offenders and dealing with drug traffickers.
“These crimes are understandably areas of concern for members of the public and we will continue to focus on prioritising these incidents as part of our work.”
Serious sexual offences also rose from 159 to 172 (8.2 per cent), which includes a 7.3 per cent rise in reported rapes from 82 to 88.
But this, along with a 21.3 per cent rise in domestic abuse, is another increase that police feel is down to the public’s growing confidence to report.
Although incidents involving motor vehicle break-ins/thefts increased 18 per cent, dwelling burglaries have decreased by the same amount.
CI Dodsworth urged residents to continue being vigilant and report any concerns to police via 101.