52% intelligent. 9% modest. More monkey than bear.

Tuesday, May 23, 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.....


  • At 2:41 pm, Blogger Lord Bargain said…

    Hear hear.

    We should start some campaign or something for everyone who lives in Nottingham to speak up and defend a city which gets some of the most biased and inaccurate press of anywhere I know.

    There are countless places on this "crime list" that I would feel much less safe in - and I have lived in some of them...!

    I'd rather live in Nottingham than Southend on Sea, that's for sure (no offence of course).

    For example, look at the list of places. Manchester comes fifth on the list, but look closely. Stockport 3rd. Oldham 6th. Bolton 7th.

    These figures are frankly a right load of old cobblers and I, for one, am going to ignore them completely.

    I used to work in Salford, Greater Manchester and in the 18 months I worked there, my office was ramraided twice, held up once and one of my staff was shot at once. The worst thing that has ever happened to me in Nottingham is that I once got the wrong sandwich filling. Look at the local news. In the North West it is all about murders and armed robberies, in the East Midlands it's all about villages having the wrong St Georges flag.

    Aaaarrgghh. This stuff makes me *so* mad.

  • At 2:52 pm, Blogger abhas1 said…

    Tell me about it.

  • At 3:47 pm, Blogger Stef said…

    I used to teach at Rushcliffe comp many years ago.

    Nice part of the world generally and the city centre always seemed nice enough to me and at the time I was comparing it favourably with Birmingham and Liverpool.

    My info's a bit out of date now though, apart from a few piss ups I've not been back in years.

    Bizarrely I think the most important crime statistics are the ones about people's perceptions of crime. They're obviously subjective but surely it's that subjectiveness that really matters. I'd rather live in a place I felt comfortable living that somewhere that had a few less murders each year but in which I felt constantly threatened.

  • At 6:07 pm, Blogger spinsterwitch said…

    Oh, to live somewhere where my car only got broken into once in seven years! (The neighborhood I last lived in was 4 times in 2 years - 2 of which involved some serious vandalism of the car.)

    Perhaps it is naivete, or maybe I'm just acclimated to living in much higher crime areas, but I never felt unsafe in England...of course, I had such lovely guardians.

  • At 6:26 pm, Blogger Flash said…

    I noticed that this list was limited to towns with a certain population or above. I reckon small towns are even worse, Crapsville has always got something going off.

    I've never felt threatened in all the many, many times I've been to Nottingham.

  • At 10:29 pm, Blogger YokoSpungeon said…

    I have never been to Nottingham, but I find it hard to believe it's worse than Brixton.

  • At 12:12 am, Blogger Ben said…

    Lord B: I'm with you on the campaign front, and I know of two or three other Nottm based bloggers who'd no doubt be up for it too.

    ST: Lenton can be rough, as can Radford (see jokey comment I left the other day), but I never felt particularly unsafe. Student houses are often targeted by burglars, but as long as you don't act like a twat you're not going to get yourself into anything more serious. West Bridgford is a bit of a haven, though, it has to be said.

  • At 9:38 pm, Blogger SwissToni said…

    a post-script to this is that it's worth mentioning that many of the "nice" areas of Nottingham are excluded from the definition of the city.... something that is not true of places like Leeds. This only goes to warp the statistics, and means that Rushcliffe is right at the bottom of a list that Nottingham (a mere half mile away) tops.



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