Residents of a Sheffield neighbourhood plagued by break-ins have called for the authorities to take action to halt a growing trend of criminality.
Darnall has suffered 335 reported burglaries so far this year, making it the worst-hit troublespot for break-ins in the city - with over six times as many as the safest areas.
Locals told The Star today they fear the area is becoming a ‘dumping ground’ for criminals.
Hairdresser Julie Lindley, aged 48, of Staniforth Road, said: “It is not just burglaries, Darnall has more of everything - stabbings, beatings, pick-pocketing, burglaries. It’s shocking.
“Councillors don’t do anything about it, and the police are only interested until people stop talking about it.”
Julie, whose salon Headmasters is located beneath her flat, warned crime was jeopardising local businesses.
“It’s killing the shopping area,” she said. “People are intimidated and would rather stay away. It used to be nice but Darnall has become a cesspit, a dumping ground.”
Norma Heeley, 70, who has lived on Basford Street with her husband Michael for 30 years, said their neighbourhood had changed beyond recognition since they moved in.
“We’ve lived here for years and there was no crime when we moved here. It’s a different world now. It used to be lovely here, a little village. But it’s all changed now. Something needs to be done about it.”
Michael, 70, added: “A few houses were burgled near our street just the other day. A neighbour came to warn us about it. We all look out for each other on our street but you do hear about a lot of break-ins affecting other people.”
Bev Hunt, 65, who grew up in Darnall, agreed the area is now unrecognisable from place of her youth.
She said: “The figures sound about right. There’s a lot of crime around here. I got burgled a few years ago.
“I was born and bred in Darnall and it has changed so much. It wasn’t always like this. It’s so sad.”
The city centre is Sheffield’s second-worst area, with 330 reported burglaries in the first nine months of 2012, and Gleadless Valley, which saw 289 break-ins, is third.
But the safest area of the city for burglary is Stocksbridge and the Upper Don, which has suffered only 50 break-ins this year so far.
Retired shop worker Kathryn Gormley, 62, from Glebelands Road, said the area’s community spirit ensures crime remains low.
“It is quite community-orientated here,” she said. “We do think ourselves a little bit set apart from Sheffield. Stocksbridge is just close enough to Sheffield to be part of it, but it is also a town in itself, and because of that there is great community spirit.
“We have our own councillors, everyone knows the police officers, and it is just a really friendly town.”
Keith Marsh, 79, of Haywood Lane, added: “It is not a bad place to be at all. It is the people that make it that way. Everyone treats each other and the town with respect. You don’t see any trouble.”
Philip Lenthall, 73, who lives on McIntyre Road with 70-year-old wife Elaine, said the area feels like a safe place to live.
“It has always been that way,” he said. “You don’t get much crime around here. It’s a nice place to be. We never feel intimidated. You can walk out of your door and feel safe here.”