Peace survey places Hackney in the mire
PUBLISHED: 07:00 05 May 2013
Hackney has been rated as the third least peaceful place in the country to live in, according to an international study.
High rates of violent crime, weapons offences and public disorder were listed as the contributing factors which lead to it being placed near the bottom of a national league table of 343 local authorities which evaluated the most peaceful places to live in the UK.
But the study, compiled by the Institute for Economics and Peace, did find that crime had fallen sharply over the last 10 years.
Institute founder Steve Killelea said: “The findings of the UK Peace Index show that poverty and economic opportunity are significantly associated with peace.
“This suggests greater emphasis needs to be placed on programmes that tackle poverty and related issues, such as access to education and economic opportunity.”
However, Cllr Sophie Linden, cabinet member for crime and sustainability, thinks the data is misleading. She said: “This report is based on extremely limited assessments and looks at the last 10 years.
“The report itself acknowledges that since 2006 there has been a sustained and steady decline in violent crime and acknowledges that there has been a ‘precipitous drop’ in weapons crime from 2004 to 2012, where the number of incidents has gone from 250 incidents per 100,000 people to 85.
“Many of the successful, pro-active measures being undertaken in Hackney mean it fares worse in the survey. For example, the greater the number of police officers working in a borough, the less ‘peaceful’ it is considered to be.
“The more weapons seized and people arrested for public disorder offences also have a negative impact on the results of this survey, despite this obviously being a very positive result for residents in Hackney.
“Residents tell us they feel safer and Metropolitan Police statistics show crime in Hackney has fallen by 30 per cent over the last 10 years – that’s more than 11, 000 fewer victims of crime. This is thanks to the close working relationship the council has with local police, including its joint Gangs Intervention Unit.
“This work is ongoing and we cannot afford to take our foot off the pedal, but Hackney is a much safer place than it was 10 years ago.”
The survey also claims that there is no link between police officer numbers and levels of violence.
Although it was not possible to obtain Met Police crime figures for the last 10 years before the Gazette went to print, figures from 2011 to 2013 show that violent crimes against the person had increased slightly by five per cent, robberies had risen by less than one per cent and burglaries by 15 per cent.
However, both gun and knife crime had fallen in the borough by 13 per cent (from 79 to 70 incidences) and 31 per cent (from 506 to 387 incidences) respectively.