POLICE patrols are to be stepped up after a surge in crime in St Annes.
Crimes in the town’s Central Ward in August were up 32 per cent on the same time last year – to more than 50 incidents – while there was a month-on-month rise of 24 per cent on July.
Wood Street and St Albans Road have been highlighted as particular problem areas.
Community beat manager PC Mike Schouteten told St Annes Central Police and Communities Together (PACT) forum incidents in the ward in August included 15 assaults, 12 of those domestic, 13 thefts, 12 incidents of criminal damage, five burglaries, one stolen vehicle and three other crimes involving vehicles. In addition, there were 46 incidents of anti-social behaviour.
PC Shouteten said: “An operation is already in place to get increased patrols on foot and in vehicles into the areas most prominent in these statistics.
“‘Float teams’ are concentrating on St Albans Road, Wood Street and the alleyways around those areas, which are used by people responsible for these incidents as thoroughfares.
“We certainly have ideas on how to tackle this and are determined to bring the figures down.”
He added: “I recall there being 40 to 50 crime incidents a month four years ago and gradually that was reduced to the mid-30s.”
“We are not happy the monthly total has crept up again and are determined to see the figures come back down.”
St Annes Chamber of Trade co-ordinator Arnold Sumner said he had been contacted by some business owners in the town centre who feared several suspicious vehicles and pedestrians in the area perhaps suggested an increase in drug dealing in the area.
However, PC Shouteten said the figures only included three drug-related incidents but asked for vigilance.
Suspicious incidents can be reported to the police by calling in at the police station, calling 101 or the Crimestoppers hotline number 0800 555111.