Tuesday 23 May 2006

Annie are you ok? Are you ok, Annie?

I see that statistics have “proved” that Nottingham is the crime capital of England and Wales. A think tank has apparently ranked urban areas with populations of more than 100,000 using police data on burglary, murder, rape, robbery, car crime and gun crime and produced a league table. Nottingham managed to come top in murder and car crime, but belied its reputation by only coming fourth in the gun crime category (which was topped by Bradford). Nottingham city officials have gone predictably ballistic about this, pointing out that 88.92% of all statistics are made up on the spot, and that London has ten times as many murders a year as Nottingham….

All I can add to this really is the benefit of my own experience of Nottingham. I’ve lived here now for nine years and the city seems very far from being the crime capital of the UK to me. Sure, the city centre can be a bit rough after closing time at the weekend, but that’s hardly unusual in this country, and it’s actually very rare to see fights breaking out. I’ve always found it a very pleasant place to live. I’ve never been burgled either. In fact, the only way that crime has really affected me directly in that nine years is when my car was broken into in January. Nottingham is apparently top in England for car crime, and the car park by the football pitches where my car was robbed has been named as the car crime hotspot in Nottinghamshire – which I suppose makes it the hotspot of the hotspot, if you know what I mean. Given that I’ve been parking there every week for the last seven years, I actually don’t think that one break-in is all that catastrophic really. It wasn’t nice, and I’d like to hope it wouldn’t happen again, but how many of you have had your cars broken into in the last five years? It could have happened almost anywhere.

Alright, so my experience of Nottingham is probably swayed by where I live: much of my time in Nottingham has been spent in the middle-class suburbs of West Bridgford in the Rushcliffe area of Nottingham. I think I’m right in saying that Rushcliffe glories in having one of the lowest crime rates in the UK, so perhaps it’s not that surprising that I’ve been as lucky as I have been. Maybe my view would be radically different if I lived somewhere like the Meadows or Lenton.

Even so, I struggle to see how anyone gains from smearing cities (or schools or hospitals or anything else) through the publication of these kinds of reports. What are the government hoping to achieve exactly? Is Nottingham really four times worse a place to live than Southend in Essex? No, of course not.



Beautiful South review from last night to follow.....

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