What life is like on one of Blackpool’s most dangerous streets

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Meet the people who live in Lowrey Terrace where a crime is recorded every two days

 

Rubbish: Karl Pierce says the statistics which claim to show his street is dangerous are 'rubbish'
Rubbish: Karl Pierce says the statistics which claim to show his street is dangerous are ‘rubbish’ (Image: James Maloney)

Residents living in a street with one of the highest crime rates in Blackpool say they are aware of “some issues” but insist where they live is safe.

In Lowrey Terrace, a street measuring just 101 metres in length with 31 houses, a crime was recorded every 2.12 days between September 2020 and August 2021. The most common crimes were those involving violent or sexual offences with a total of 64 meaning that an assault happens, on average, every 5.7 days.

The figures have been published by national crime website CrimeRate which reveals that Lowrey Terrace, which is close to Blackpool FC’s Bloomfield Road, has one of the town’s highest crime rates.

Anti-social behaviour is the second most common incident reported to police with 44 crimes logged in the 12-month period, followed by 12 incidents of criminal damage and arson, 12 public order offences, 10 involving drugs, seven thefts, three classed as ‘other crime’, two crimes of theft from the person, one robbery and one burglary.

It’s worth bearing in mind that crime rates are calculated according to the number of crimes per every 1,000 people – so in Lowrey Terrace, which has just 31 homes, even a slightly higher than average rate will seem significant given the small population.

Official police figures published on the police.uk website for the Bloomfield 2 and 3 area reveal that 12 crimes were reported to Blackpool Police in Lowrey Terrace in September of this year. They include six violent and sexual offences, three reports of anti-social behaviour, two for possession of weapons and one other crime.

In August 2021 14 offences in Lowrey Terrace were reported to police, following 13 in July, six in June, 18 in May, 17 in April, 18 in March, seven in February, 14 in January, 10 in December 2020, 16 in November and 20 in October. These figures add up to a total of 165 crimes in Lowrey Terrace which were reported to Blackpool Police in the last 12-month period.

Despite Lowrey Terrace’s high crime rate resident Karl Pierce (main image) insists the street is safe.

“There have been the odd couple of incidents where residents have kicked off but it’s mainly quiet here,” he told LancsLive.

“I’ve been here nine years and I can’t believe that it has the highest crime rate in Blackpool.”

Statistics: Lowrey Terrace has one of the highest crime rates in Blackpool
Statistics: Lowrey Terrace has one of the highest crime rates in Blackpool (Image: James Maloney)

Paul Watson has just returned to his flat in Lowrey Terrace following a 10-month jail sentence. His mum Susan lives across the road.

“I’ve been coming here for eight years and it’s not somewhere I’d say there is a lot of crime,” Paul said.

“I’ve just come out of prison, I was inside for 10 months, so I don’t know what’s happened during that time but I think of it as being pretty quiet.”

Blackpool itself has been branded as one of the most dangerous places in the UK by CrimeRate with a crime rate of 131.15 per 1,000 people, making the seaside town statistically more dangerous than major cities Liverpool and Birmingham.

Across Blackpool the central area has the highest crime rate followed by South Promenade and Seasiders Way – which includes Lowrey Terrace, North Shore and North East Centre. Squires Gate and St Anne’s North are the safest neighbourhoods in Blackpool.

Rick has lived in Lowrey Terrace for 32 years. He and his wife were involved in the creation of the street’s Neighbourhood Watch scheme in the early 2000s.

Nonsense: Rick said the stats are 'a load of rubbish'
Nonsense: Rick said the stats are ‘a load of rubbish’ (Image: James Maloney)

“It’s a load of crap,” Rick said when asked for his thoughts on Lowrey Terrace’s high crime rate.

“Them figures are rubbish. Maybe it’s just one family. We have had the odd bit of trouble from certain houses but I wouldn’t have said it was that bad.”

Amanda Ball is another resident who highlights the good work of Neighbourhood Watch coordinator Irene Greaves.

“I’ve owned my own property here since 1994,” Amanda told LancsLive.

Issues: Resident Amanda Ball
Issues: Resident Amanda Ball (Image: James Maloney)

“I think when there have been problems it’s been down to tenants who have rented flats. Property developers come in and break up houses into flats and then have a quick turn-around.”

Wayne Greaves, the son of civic-minded Irene, said he was aware of an alleged incident of sexual assault on the street. This may help to add further context to crime statistics because even if reports do not always go through the full judicial process unless they are logged as ‘solved’ or otherwise, they will remain on the system as crimes.

“We have had a lot of problems with drugs,” said Irene, who turns 90 next week, said.

“We have really good links with the local police, Peter Smith is our bobby, and he’s brilliant.”

Blackpool South MP Scott Benton regularly hosts surgeries aimed at tackling anti-social behaviour in his constituency which he said has some of the country’s “most deprived wards”.

“Unfortunately, for many complex reasons, Blackpool does suffer a higher-than-average crime rate and in my constituency of Blackpool South, we have several of the most deprived wards in the country,” Mr Benton told LancsLive.

“I’ve discussed this issue with ministers on several occasions. The government are rightly taking a two-tier approach: tackling crime and the causes of crime.

Concerns: Scott Benton says he is working closely with the police in Blackpool
Concerns: Scott Benton says he is working closely with the police in Blackpool (Image: House of Commons)

“The government has hired over 300 new police officers in Lancashire since the election and has brought in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which makes provision for new offences and modifies existing offences.

“These measures help tackle crime itself and ensure justice is served, but equally important is the implementation of schemes to tackle the causes of crime. This can be seen in Project ADDER, currently being trialled in Blackpool, which provides extra resources for drug treatment and recovery services to break the cycle of reoffending.

“I’ve also been meeting regularly with the Chief Superintendent at Lancashire Constabulary to discuss anti-social behaviour and have hosted well-attended surgeries on anti-social behaviour in conjunction with the police and the council.

“I’ll continue to work with government, the local council, and the police on this issue. If any constituents do have any concerns with crime or anti-social behaviour in their area, they can contact myself or my office and we will do what we can to assist them.”

Project ADDER (Addiction, Diversion, Disruption, Enforcement, Recovery), which the Blackpool South MP references, is a three-year pilot funded by the Home Office and managed by Public Health Blackpool.

The £1.1m pilot was launched in January and aims to tackle illegal drug misuse by ‘bolstering’ local police capabilities to support an increase in targeted drug supply disruption and related offending. It also plans to use the criminal justice system to divert people who use drugs away from offending and into health interventions.

Detective Superintendent Becky Smith of Lancashire Constabulary, who is leading Project ADDER, said in January: “We have worked really hard as a partnership in Blackpool over the last three years to change cultures around how we identify, protect and disrupt those involved in county lines exploitation.

Pilot: Det Supt Becky Smith (front) is leading the ADDER enforcement team
Pilot: Det Supt Becky Smith (front) is leading the ADDER enforcement team (Image: Lancashire Police)

“Having a dedicated team of officers working alongside practitioners from partner agencies will now provide us with an opportunity to dismantle the organised criminal gangs but also to work differently – diverting those individuals involved in middle-market drug supply away from criminality whilst reducing drugs deaths and making a real difference to people’s lives.

“Having policed Blackpool for the last 27 years and seen first-hand the harm that is caused by the supply of drugs, this is an exciting opportunity for Blackpool to be part of. The team is really keen to make an impact and to make improvements for our communities.”

LancsLive has approached Lancashire Police for a comment about Lowrey Terrace’s crime rate.