THE Government’s new website mapping crime and trouble hotspots has revealed Greenstead, pictured above, as Colchester’s worst neighbourhood.
According to www.police.uk, more offences were committed on the estate last month than any other residential area in the borough. Overall, the highest-crime area was the town centre, followed by Greenstead and Highwoods.
After repeatedly crashing on its launch day, the new website was working more smoothly yesterday. It allows internet users to type in a town, street or postcode and see the kinds and numbers of crimes recorded there.
Julie Young, a ward councillor for Greenstead, described the site a “a welcome tool”, but stressed its data had to be viewed sensibly.
She explained: “Things like this can help show agencies where help and resources are most needed.
“It’s also good for holding local police to account and seeing what they’re doing, but statistics need to be taken with a pinch of salt. I think there needs to be some way of comparing the figures on a monthly basis to see if the situation has improved or got worse.
“There needs to be some sort of context to make this worthwhile. It’s not always the most beneficial thing to know statistics in isolation without the background details.”
Mrs Young, who sits on the council’s crime and disorder committee, said December’s antisocial behaviour figures in Greenstead were worrying, but said that sort of crime had decreased, thanks to police patrols, the work of street wardens and effective community programmes.
Colchester town centre had 489 reported offences in December, with the website suggesting the majority were shoplifiting, criminal damage or drug related and in Culver Street West.
Ten violent crimes were recorded in Queen Street.
The website shows 181 crimes recorded in the Greenstead area. In terms of individual residential streets, Larch Close and Spruce Avenue, both in Greenstead, and Caelum Drive, Hythe, had the highest number of offences.
There were 114 reported crimes in Highwoods, 109 in Lexden and 72 in Shrub End.
The site shows police recorded 33 crimes in West Mersea, 32 in Brightlingsea and 12 in Wivenhoe.
Antisocial behaviour was the most prevalent crime in all neighbourhoods, often representing half the total number of reports.
Clacton hit the national headlines when it was listed as one of the worst places in Britain for burglaries last month.
But residents of one hotspot shown on the website, Jubilee Avenue, defended their street, saying most break-ins had actually been at nearby caravan park.
Clacton had the most reported crime in Tendring – 355 incidents, including 130 of antisocial behaviour and 55 violent crimes. Some 120 incidents happened in or around the town centre. Frinton and Walton had 53 reports between them, almost half of them of antisocial behaviour.
Harwich saw 18 crimes in December, while 102 were recorded in Dovercourt, including 53 reports of antisocial behaviour and 19 violent crimes.