Crime map: Leeds city centre, Hyde Park and Headingley

Chestnut Avenue, Hyde Park.

Chestnut Avenue, Hyde Park.

  • by Juliette Bains

THIS seemingly quiet residential road in the heart of Hyde Park was once dubbed Britain’s most burgled street.

Chestnut Avenue residents, who are mainly students, are used to hearing tales of wheelie bins being set on fire, loud music in the middle of the night and burglaries happening in and around the road.

But recent figures show that there were no burglaries on the road and just one crime was committed during the whole of May.

The police website shows there were 183 crimes in the Hyde Park area in total, including 36 burglaries, 44 antisocial behaviour crimes, 15 vehicle crimes, 12 robberies, 13 violent crimes and 63 other crimes.

Police have targeted patrols in the area and are working with specialist offender management teams to catch criminals.

Inspector Simon Jessup, of the North West Inner Neighourhood Policing Team, said: “The area has a large student population and we work closely with them to help them protect their homes and property from burglars. This has included establishing a student neighbourhood watch scheme and fitting tracking software to hundreds of students’ laptops to deter thieves.”

Resident Tom Cheale, 25, said: “I knew it was the most burgled street when I moved in but it didn’t really put me off.

“I’ve lived in Hyde Park for six years and students have become more aware of the importance of locking doors.

“Security on the street has improved thanks to landlords installing double glazed windows and house alarms. Big black gates were put up at the back of the properties a few years ago, which also helps.

“I feel safe living here – you always know there will be people around at all times.

“You get little crimes like people setting fire to wheelie bins but overall the figures sound about right for Hyde Park.

“At the end of the day it is a short-term community as the students only live here for eight months of the year.”

However, the figures for May also show a staggering number of crimes committed in Leeds city centre.

875 crimes were committed in just one month – the equivalent of 28 every day.

The figures are the worst for crime across Leeds and a massive 244 crimes relate to antisocial behaviour.

Briggate was the worst street in the city with 67 crimes, 26 of which were for antisocial behaviour and seven of which were violent crimes.

Merrion Way, behind Morrissons, also had 67 crimes in May.

According to police, this number is fairly normal for a busy city centre.

Inspector Richard Clarke of the City Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “Leeds city centre is a vibrant economy and footfall per week is around 200,000 people for those two streets. Take into account the sheer number of people and it puts it into perspective.

“Any victim of crime is one too many but we’re working hard to make Leeds a safe place to live, work and play in.”

Police are targeting antisocial behaviour with teams hitting the hotspot areas of Call Lane, Briggate, Albion Street and Woodhouse Lane at weekends and street marshalls and PCSOs are also working to prevent crime near the Corn Exchange.

Insp Clarke added that more than £3.5million has been spent on CCTV cameras in the city centre.

John Morelli owns the Hifi nightclub on Central Road next to Briggate – one of the most crime-ridden streets.

He said: “These figures do seem worse than expected.

“I would be interested to see a more detailed breakdown of these crimes and find out between what times the majority of them are taking place.

“We haven’t noticed any increase in antisocial behaviour recently. We have an experienced door team who are radio-linked to our managers at all times, so if there is any form of antisocial activity taking place, it can be acted upon immediately.

“Leeds does have a vast network of police cameras throughout the city centre and although they may be very helpful with a conviction of a crime, it doesn’t necessarily help prevent crime.

“Having more police presence on the streets is a no brainer, as they are without doubt the most effective deterrent for antisocial behaviour and street crime.”

Headingley, another student area with several bars and pubs, saw 207 crimes committed in May, including 63 crimes of antisocial behaviour (ASB) and 31 burglaries.

North Lane, one of Headingley’s main streets which is home to bars, pubs and takeaways, was the worst in the area with 14 crimes committed.

The area of Kirkstall and Kirkstall valley saw 198 crimes, including 27 burglaries, 81 ASB and 18 violent crimes.

Burley had 108 crimes, with 34 ASB crimes and 14 burglaries.

In Woodhouse, Cromer Terrace was the most crime-ridden street with 21 crimes.

There were 190 crimes in the Woodhouse area, including 56 ASB and 19 violent crimes.

The smaller area of Little London saw 60 crimes, with seven burglaries and 11 ASB crimes.

To get the latest figures for your area, visit: www.police.uk




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