Fear of crime creates ‘no go’ areas across Capital

Despite a high police presence there are still areas many in the Capital will not visit according to the study.
Despite a high police presence there are still areas many in the Capital will not visit according to the study.
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More than half of residents would steer clear of certain parts of the city to avoid becoming a victim of crime, according to an Evening News survey.

Almost 55 per cent of those who took part said there were parts of the city where they would not venture – and among women the figure rose to over 62 per cent.

The survey – which drew more than 2300 responses online and through a questionnaire in the paper – also found almost a quarter of people said they or a member of their family had been a victim of crime in the past 12 months.

Some 10.7 per cent had been a victim themselves, 13.6 per cent had a family member who was a victim and 18.5 per cent knew someone else who had been a victim.

Councillor Mark Brown, Tory community justice spokesman, said it was a matter of concern that so many people said they would avoid certain areas because of fear of crime.

“Edinburgh should not have any no-go areas,” he said.

“It’s for elected officials like myself and the police to work together in these localities to see how we can tackle the causes and find solutions. No-one should feel fear about walking home late at night.”

The survey asked whether people felt crime was a major issue in the Capital. More than 39 per cent said they believed it was, as against 27 per cent who said it was not and 33 per cent who did not take a view.

However more than 60 per cent of people said they felt safe in Edinburgh.

Among women, 49.6 per cent agreed with the statement “I feel safe when out and about in the city” and 11 per cent strongly agreed.

Among men, 47.6 per cent agreed and 14.7 strongly agreed.

But when it came to a question about whether the city was safer now than it was five years ago, only 13.6 per cent agreed or strongly agreed, while 33.3 per cent disagreed or strongly disagreed and 48.3 per cent took now view.

Men were more likely to think it was safer – 16 per cent compared with 11 per cent of women.

Some 63 per cent said police officers did not have a high profile across the city – and only 13.4 per cent said they did.

Cllr Brown suggested a link between the question of whether the city was safer than five years ago and the creation of the single police force. He said: “The Scottish Government railroaded the single force through and the police have been forced to change how they channel their resources. The police do a sterling job, but they could do with more resources.”

Green councillor Melanie Main said: “The perception of crime varies a lot within the city and some neighbourhoods cause much more concern than others.

“That’s where really targeted local projects can have a real part to play: working with community groups and younger people to tackle hotspots and improve quality of life for everyone.”

Cllr Ian Campbell, vice-convener of the council’s culture and communities committee, said: “We want to reduce all forms of crime in Edinburgh through more effective partnership working and increased community engagement. The priority of the Edinburgh Community Safety Partnership is to reduce antisocial behaviour, violence, harm and reoffending.

“In addition to tackling crime and its immediate effects, our work with police colleagues is increasingly focused on prevention, support and restorative practice, all of which we know have a very positive longer-term effect on crime and antisocial behaviour, and consequently on the safety and well-being of communities.

“We will continue to work closely with Police Scotland on all crime issues across the city to ensure that Edinburgh remains a safe place for its residents.”