Homeowners are furious after the Home Office listed their quiet leafy cul-de-sac as a crime hotspot where 120 sex attacks, assaults and drug offences took place because it is near to a police station
- Ash Gardens locals are angry their cul-de-sac has been listed as a crime hot spot
- The quiet street in Swindon was linked to 120 offences in 2018 by police.uk
- But locals say it’s because their street is located near Gablecross Police Station
- The website’s crime map gives the number of offences ‘on or near’ a street
Residents of a leafy suburb are furious after the Home Office listed their quiet cul-de-sac as a crime hot spot – because of it’s location near a police station.
Ash Gardens in South Marston, Swindon, is a street made up of just 10 houses and has never had any issues with crime or anti-social behaviour, locals have said.
Official figures on the police.uk crime map say it is a hotbed for crime – with 120 offences linked to the area in 2018 including drugs offences, assaults, sexual attacks and criminal damage.
While criminal activity does not take place around Ash Gardens, locals in the area say it is because their street is located near Gablecross Police Station.
Residents of Ash Gardens in Swindon are furious after the Home Office’s police.uk website listed their quiet cul-de-sac as a crime hot spot. In 2018, 120 offences were to the area including drugs offences, assaults, sexual attacks and criminal damage
Jo Mills, 53, who lives in the area said: ‘It’s ludicrous. We’ve had nothing like that around here.’
Her neighbour Hazel Beaver, 53, added: ‘It’s a safe area. It’s a glitch in the statistics.’
Another woman, 41, who asked not to be named, said: ‘We’ve only been here for a little while. There’s been no trouble.’
The difference between recorded crimes and experiences of the residents come down to how the police.uk website records crimes.
The website gives users searching for a particular road the number of offences happened approximately ‘on or near’ that street.
While the criminal activity does take place around Ash Gardens, locals in the area say it is because their street is located near Gablecross Police Station, which is less than a kilometre away
Ash Gardens is located less than a kilometre away from the police station, an industrial park and a public park.
Angus Macpherson, Wiltshire and Swindon’s police and crime commissioner, told parish councillors last week that the county’s approach to recording crime gave a more accurate picture of crime rates than other places around the country.
‘Wiltshire is in the forefront in that change of discipline to record crimes, rather than brush it under the carpet or not record it in the first place. Our figures are accurate,’ he told South Swindon Parish Council.
‘Crime has increased. But, in fact, crime is still increasing in other areas more than Wiltshire. Particularly knife crime. It has actually fallen in Wiltshire.’
The police.uk’s crime map gives users searching for a particular road the number of offences happened approximately ‘on or near’ that street
Earlier this year, the Home Office said: ‘Police.uk very clearly states that markers on the crime maps give an approximate location of where a crime has occurred and not the exact place it happened, to protect the identity of victims.
‘This anonymisation process is based on methodology developed by the website, in consultation with the Information Commissioner’s Office and data protection specialists, and is accurate to 2012 population and housing developments.’
Different approaches to recording crime by different police forces may also through out the figures, the government has said.