Comment: Edinburgh relatively safe despite crime

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some of today’s headlines make for grim reading.

The sex attacks which police are linking in Balerno and Craiglockhart are extremely concerning, so too the rise in violent crime and street robberies. There is no getting away from that.

It is one of the duties of a local newspaper to report on serious problems like these and we make no apologies for doing so. But it is important when we are considering these serious problems that we understand them in a proper context.

A growth in violent crime is always going to cause anxiety. Yet we have to remember that, as we report on page 11, the chances of any one of us individually falling victim in the Capital to a street robbery, for instance, remains extremely small. Even after the recent steep rise there was only 61 muggings and attempted muggings across the city.

That is undoubtedly far too high a number – and the impact upon those invovled, and their loved ones, will have been extreme and traumatic. Yet, as we have said many times in the past, Edinburgh remains, on the whole, a relatively safe city in which to live.

The comparison with Glasgow that we report today is still useful. It is a reminder that while Edinburgh is not a dangerous place, it does have its own particular social problems and challenges that have to be met.

The departure of Chief Constable Stephen House will provide an opportunity to pause for thought within Police Scotland. There have been successes and failures under the single national force. The biggest problem has been high-handed decisions like the scrapping of the city’s specialist housebreaking team, which lead directly to more misery for many residents. The big hope is that under a new leader there will be more autonomy for people like Edinburgh’s police commander, Mark Williams, to tailor the service to the particular challenges the Capital faces.