Police data reveals Welwyn Hatfield's hate crime hotspots
PUBLISHED: 07:44 06 September 2017 | UPDATED: 07:44 06 September 2017
More than 42 per cent of the borough's recorded hate crimes happened in two Hatfield wards, the latest figures have shown.
Racially aggravated incidents soared 61 per cent in the last financial year compared to the same period the previous year, the largest increase in any criminality category.
It has emerged that out of 152 hate crimes in 2016/17, 64 happened in Hatfield Central and Hatfield North – 38 and 26 respectively.
Hatfield West (14), East (10) and South (three) made up the rest of the town’s reports, according to police.
Former borough councillor Michal Siewniak, who is originally from Poland, feared that the problem may be even worse than the statistics suggest.
“People I talk to are rather reluctant to report any hate crime incidents,” he told the Welwyn Hatfield Times.
“The language may be a barrier, culturally it may be difficult. Some people I speak to are simply worried that if a hate or any other crime is reported, the situation may deteriorate.”
In WGC the three worst offending wards were Handside (20), Peartree (15) and Howlands (11), followed by Haldens (five), Hollybush (two) and Sherrards (one).
Almost all the incidents recorded by police were either racially motivated or had an “element of race” to them, and ranged from verbal and physical attacks to criminal damage and threats to kill.
The vast majority involved verbal or written harassment, but there were also 22 assaults.
However, Mr Siewniak said that he was heartened after attending a meeting in the Netherlands, which emphasised the importance of building a more united world.
“It was so refreshing and uplifting to see many people who believe in a united world,” he said.
“It was a really important experience for me, which once more demonstrated that we have a huge responsibility to bring unity where there is disunity, and understanding where there is hate and divisions.”
A Hertfordshire Constabulary spokeswoman said: “There can never be any excuse for hate crime in any shape or form. This criminality will not be tolerated and we positively encourage people to report it.
“More people are reporting hate crime than ever before but it is still significantly under reported. People should not suffer in silence as we can help them.”