Lancashire’s ‘most dangerous town’: What it’s really like to live in Blackpool

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Blackpool is statistically more dangerous than Liverpool and Birmingham, according to a new study

 

Blackpool looking stunning in the sunshine
Blackpool looking stunning in the sunshine

Blackpool has been revealed as the third most dangerous major town in England and Wales because it “attracts people likely to commit crime”, a leading councillor has said.

National crime website CrimeRate reveals that with a crime rate of 131.15 per 1,000 people, the seaside town is statistically more dangerous than major cities Liverpool and Birmingham.

The statistics show that of Lancashire’s major towns and cities, Blackpool has the highest crime rate followed by Fleetwood and Accrington. Blackpool’s crime rate is 45% higher than the Lancashire rate of 72 per 1,000 residents.

In August, nine crimes relating to violence or sexual offences were recorded in Blackpool with seven resulting in no further action because of an inability to prosecute the suspect or because it was deemed to not be in the public interest to prosecute. Two took place in a playground area.

Crime hotspot: A tram in Blackpool
Crime hotspot: A tram in Blackpool

Comparing Blackpool to other locations in Lancashire reveals that Bamber Bridge is 250% safer than Blackpool, according to the site, while Preston is 29% safer and Blackburn is 48% safer.

In Blackpool itself the, central area has the highest crime rate followed by South Promenade and Seasiders Way, North Shore and North East Centre. Squires Gate and St Anne’s North are the safest neighbourhoods in Blackpool.

In December 2020, Blackpool had the worst crime rate in Lancashire for bicycle theft, with 17 crimes reported and a crime rate of 0.12 per 1,000 inhabitants. October 2020 was also a bad month for Blackpool residents, when it was Lancashire’s most dangerous area for burglary, recording 107 crimes at a rate of 0.73 per 1,000 residents.

Blackpool recorded 175 reports of criminal damage and arson during December 2020, making its crime rate of 1.2 the worst for criminal damage and arson in Lancashire that month.

The most common crimes in Blackpool are violence and sexual offences, with 9,015 offences during 2020, giving a crime rate of 62. This is seven per cent lower than 2019’s figure of 9,605 offences and a difference of 4.05 from 2019’s crime rate of 66.

Blackpool’s least common crime is robbery, with 159 offences recorded in 2020, a decrease of 38 per cent from the 219 crimes recorded in 2019.

Police vehicles in Blackpool
Police vehicles in Blackpool (Image: James Maloney)

Councillor Tony Williams, who is leader of Blackpool’s Conservative group and has lived in the seaside town since the 1960s, said that although he feels safe living in Blackpool he accepts that the town has “a lot of stabbings and a high drugs rate”.

“Nobody is walking around shooting people like in the Wild West but I know that we have a lot of stabbings and we have a high drugs rate and one of the reasons for that is that people who are likely to commit crimes are attracted to Blackpool,” he told LancsLive.

“People may come from elsewhere in the country because they want to escape and see Blackpool as an attractive place. They might be vulnerable and sometimes get in with the wrong people because they have no alternative.”

Councillor Williams said one of the biggest issues in Blackpool is a recent spate of car break-ins with residents and visitors failing to lock their vehicles.

He said: “I moved to Blackpool from Durham when I was 13 and we came here because we had enjoyed so many holidays here. It was like moving to the Costa Del Sol; and Blackpool was incredibly safe then. It’s a shame that Blackpool keeps getting this bad rep because we get millions of visitors a year and they are all safe here.”

Margaret Watson was born in Blackpool and “will die in Blackpool”.

The 74-year-old, who lives in North Shore, said she didn’t recognise the town as being dangerous.

“It’s a load of nonsense,” the retired cleaner said.

“Blackpool is no more dangerous than the next town. I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve always felt safe. I used to walk home from work at 10pm and I’ve never felt scared.”

Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard said statistics should always be taken in context.

“With such a busy town centre and nightlife, with so many visitors, Blackpool will always have a complex picture of crime that is likely to be higher than average,” he told LancsLive.

Comment: Paul Maynard
Comment: Paul Maynard (Image: House of Commons)

“But I doubt residents would recognise the tag ‘Lancashire’s most dangerous town’ based on a website which is data driven, and provides no context at all.

“At the same time, we all understand some of the social pressures Blackpool faces, and I do know that many residents would like to see more visibility from the police on the street. The police work hard to keep us all safe, but face some very challenging conditions in the town centre.”