Stanley Park Most Violent In Blackpool
Blackpool's Moor Park and Claremont Park have also seen violent crime blight them in the last several years.
100 violent crimes were committed in Stanley Park in Blackpool in the last five years, according to new data released by Lancashire Constabulary.
Violent crimes in five Blackpool parks rose from 15 to 32 incidents annually between 2014 and 2019, as of the end of September 2019.
Claremont Park, Stanley Park, Moor Park, Gynn Gardens and Warbreck Park are the five parks with new data on them, released following a Freedom of Information request to Lancashire Constabulary.
More than half of the total crimes committed happened in Stanley Park, with 100 of 178 happening in Blackpool’s primary park. Spanning 104 hectares, it boasts a water fountain, statues and children’s play area.
45 crimes were recorded in Claremont Park over the five year period, peaking at 12 in 2017. This park is in a residential area and is next to a primary school. A further 7 occurred in Gynn Gardens, along with 26 in Moor Park.
On the other hand, Warbeck Park, (locally known as ‘The Rock Gardens’) saw no violent crimes between 2014-2019.
The increase in violent crime is impacting the town’s young people. Ashley Hackett, chief executive of Blackpool Football Club Community Trust, told the BBC in 2019: “There is a significant issue with county lines [drugs courier] gangs in Blackpool, and from that we are seeing that means a lot of young people are carrying knives. We have an awful lot of children and teenagers who are living in deprivation and whatever way they can find to earn money and support households, legally and illegally, they are doing it. That includes drugs and knives,”
A 2020 report by StreetDoctors, a violence education and prevention charity, found that Blackpool was one of five local authorities with the highest risk of growing levels of youth violence.
John Blackledge, Blackpool Council Director of Community and Environmental Services said: “Blackpool Council has been working with the Blackpool Community Safety Partnership.
The purpose of the Partnership is to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour including ensuring all our parks are as safe as possible. The Partnership is made up of a significant number of organisations ranging from Blackpool Council, Lancashire Constabulary to community agencies and many more.
“Neighbourhood police teams are particularly proactive in patrolling our parks as we of course want to discourage and stop any violent behaviour.
“In addition, we have a dedicated Anti-Social Behaviour patrol car that operates in the summer months and reacts to reports and intelligence in relation to activity within our parks.
“Although no anti-social behaviour is acceptable in our parks it should be noted that crimes categorised under ‘violent crime’ encompasses a range of offences, ranging from minor assaults to more serious crimes such as harassment.
“Our parks are extremely popular and are visited by thousands of people every year. The total number of crimes categorised as violent crimes between 2014 and 2019 is actually very low as is the number of other crimes such as damage towards parks and building when considered over this five year period.
“In terms of overall anti-social behaviour Blackpool saw a reduction of over 30% in 2018/19 compared to the previous year.”
The data was sourced by the media literacy charity The Student View.
Why did students choose to cover this story?
Callum, 13, Dean, 14, and Edison, 14, from Blackpool, said: “We chose the topic because we feel that a public park shouldn’t have the amount of crime it does, considering the number of young children that go to the parks that could be harmed or involved. It’s important to us because of the young family members we have that could go to the parks and potentially be harmed.”
How did the story make our journalists feel?
“The answers we got back were alarming as we did not realise how bad our local parks are. It’s shocking that so many crimes were committed in parks near us and how many children go to these parks.”