People need reassurance that their city is still safe
Is Portsmouth a violent city? Read our front page story today and you would certainly be left with that impression.
The figures are stark. In just nine months, detectives have investigated two murders, a 17-year-old girl was brutally attacked with a hammer and stabbings linked to drug-dealing have taken place. In two stabbing incidents in Southsea last month, six men were wounded.
For those who say that it’s a big city and therefore crime is to be expected, a sharp rise in serious crime is not so easy to explain away.
Police recorded an average of 10 violent or sex offence crimes for every 1,000 of the population in Portsmouth in March 2016 – double the figure for March 2014 and far higher than the Hampshire average.
Then there are figures that show the number of violent crimes in Portsmouth is higher than comparable cities at 38 offences per 1,000 population.
Offences of possession of offensive weapons in the quarter ending March 2016 were almost double the same period last year.
So what is going on? And are residents right to be concerned?
We’re pleased that city council leader Donna Jones is to meet with the city’s police commander, Supt Will Schofield, to discuss the situation.
If there are underlying factors, then council and police need to work together to make the city safer. Problem areas must be given special attention.
We accept what Supt Schofield says when he insists that there is no pattern of serious crime rising in Portsmouth.
But a number of incidents happening soon after each other can understandably breed fear.
People need reassurance and to know that everything is being done to keep their neighbourhoods safe.