Starbeck residents 'don't feel safe'

NEARLY three quarters of Starbeck residents don't feel safe in the area at night. And most think a dispersal order would help tackle recent yob behaviour.

That's according to a police survey carried out in January as part of officers' bid to stamp out anti-social behaviour.

They spent four days in Starbeck asking residents and workers what they thought should be done to tackle crime in the area.

Officers spoke to 120 people about their experiences of crime and their ideas for solutions.

Although 97 per cent said they felt safe during the day, 74 per cent said they felt unsafe in the evening.

And 66 per cent were in favour of a dispersal order to give police more powers to split up and move on any groups thought to be causing trouble.

The crimes people were most concerned about were anti-social behaviour, drugs, violent assault, drink driving and binge drinking,

They were "fairly concerned" about burglary and vehicle crime.

The residents surveyed said they were most likely to report criminal damage, vandalism, threatening behaviour, racial abuse, substance misuse and joy riding.They were least likely to report verbal abuse, noise nuisance, graffiti and underage drinking.

Starbeck High Street, Belmont Park, off licences and the area around St Andrew's Church were identified as trouble hotspots.

Suggestions for dealing with the problems included providing something for teenagers to do, extra policing and CCTV.

Neighbourhood Policing Officer Mark Stamper said the police's response to the survey results include the launch of three operations to tackle theft, violent crime and criminal damage.

A youth shelter is currently being painted "Starbeck blue" and will be placed in Belmont Park.

The police have also pledged to continue Operation Witness – aimed at reducing anti-social behaviour and criminal damage with high visibility patrols and fines for anyone causing disorder.

"We're currently working on setting up a Neighbourhood Policing website for Knaresborough and South Harrogate which would have details of local police officers on it," said PC Stamper.

"We're also going to repeat the survey in six months time."

PC Stamper said some residents who took part in the survey were concerned about reporting crimes but he said people can ring Crimestoppers on 0800 555111, if they want to report a crime anonymously.

Residents are also invited to a Starbeck Community and Police meeting taking place on March 19 at Station View Community Centre at 7.30pm.

The survey comes after reports of a rise in anti-social behaviour in Starbeck at the end of last year.

Police have also ploughed extra resources into providing high-visibility patrols and a problem solving team has been formed with key figures from the community.