Organised gangs operating in almost every Sheffield area – but is crime actually going up?
With police chiefs admitting that organised crime groups operate in almost every community in Sheffield and the city experiencing regular shootings and stabbings, fears have been raised over the city’s crime rate.
Star readers asked for their opinion on whether they feel crime that is on the up in Sheffield responded overwhelmingly ‘yes'.
Lynne Hammett was one of those who fears crime is getting ‘worse’ but added: “But I don’t think its any different to other major cities.”
Elizabeth Frampton admitted that she no longer feels safe in the city compared to the ‘old days of peace and order’ in the 1950s and 60s.
“In the 50s and 60s there was very little crime and as a child I could feel safe walking out and about in central Sheffield. Now at nearly 75 I prefer to walk with other people, prefer to only go out in daylight and am constantly looking around in case somebody snatches my bag,” she said.
Adrian Finney said the statistics show that overall crime has actually gone down but violent crime is rising and ‘definitely a concern’.
He said the popularity of social media plays a part in the perception of crime in the city.
“One thing that helps us think that there’s more crime than ever is social media. Back in the day you could easily miss a police incident even on your own street. Now, with social media everything that happens is shared everywhere,” he said.
Roy Morgan-Vincent agrees.
“It's just that it is more reported and sensationalised on social media these days,” he said.
Joanne Flecknell said she feels as though there is ‘definitely’ more crime today than in the past and suggested a lack of youth clubs could have played a part.
“There's no youth clubs anymore like we had growing up, that could have helped prevent some kids going down wrong path,” she said.
Susan Briggs said there was ‘no gun/knife crime until recent times’ and fears there are ‘no real punishments to fit the crimes’.
Jane Mosley also expressed concern about violent crime.
“Seems to be someone stabbed or shot every week now. No discipline, so people do as they please,” she said.
Roger Jones claims ‘some areas are now no go areas’ and Diana Fothergill said: “I used to love going to Sheffield when I was younger. I wouldn’t dare go now, it's like the wild west. I wouldn't feel safe anymore.”
Steven Law, who lives in Firth Park, said: “I’ve lived here all my life and have never known it this bad.”
Office for National Statistics figures for the period October 2019 to September 2020, compared to the year before, show an overall reduction in crime by three per cent.
Burglary was down 21 per cent, theft fell by 19 per cent and knife crime dropped by three per cent.
Drug offences went up by 25 per cent, public order offences rose by 21 per cent and stalking and harassment offences rocketed by 14 per cent.
South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, said South Yorkshire officers had been ‘very active tackling gangs and drugs’ during that period, reflecting the rise in offences recorded.
He said at the time: “If we are to see levels of crime brought down in South Yorkshire we need to restore the 500 police officers that were cut between 2010 and 2019 as a result of government cuts in grant.
“Among other things, that allowed criminal gangs to get established.”
ONS figures for 2015 compared to 2020, show a rise in crime.
There were 98,908 offences recorded in 2015 compared to 135,874, excluding fraud, in 2020.
The figures show there were 18,905 offences of violence in 2015 and 47,666 last year.
There were 13 murders in 2015 and 18 in 2020.
There were also fewer sex offences in 2015, with 2,892 reported compared to 3,994 last year.
There were 1,024 robberies in 2015 and 1,468 last year.
But there were more burglaries in 2015, with 12,695 recorded compared to 10,946 last year.
There were 2,706 drug offences in 2015 and 4,458 in 2020.
South Yorkshire Police dealt with 663 possession of offensive weapon offences in 2015 compared to 1,703 last year.