Ripon violence rate causes alarm

Looking down Kirkgate towards Ripon Cathedral in the city's Minster Ward.
Looking down Kirkgate towards Ripon Cathedral in the city's Minster Ward.

The rate of violence in Ripon Minster ward is more than three times higher than the Harrogate district average, a shocking new report has revealed.

A My Neighbourhood Project report commissioned by Harrogate Borough Council showed there were 24 incidents of violence per 1,000 population in the ward in 2012-13, compared to the district average of just 7.2.

“We are aware of the problems on Ripon Minster ward and have measures in place to tackle them,” said Sgt Andrew Tiffany of Ripon Police.

In addition to comparatively high violence rates, Ripon Minster ward’s crime figures for theft, criminal damage, vehicle crime and burglary were consistently above the district average according to the report, with anti-social behaviour more than double the district average.

“It’s a priority area, and a lot of anti-social behaviour can turn into crime,” Sgt Tiffany said.

“We are hitting the issue from both sides. We want to try and make sure there are no more victims of crime and give potential offenders something else to do, with initiatives such as the new Ripon Youth Café.”

Fifty-three out of 62 social indicators in the report – such as health and well-being factors, including life expectancy – are also worse than the district’s average, with some of the main issues in the ward including a lack of child development at age five, the number of job seeker’s allowance claimants, violent crime, mental illness, obesity and alcohol-related harm.

The new figures come after the Gazette reported earlier this year that Ripon Minster ward had been designated as a “priority” area by the My Neighbourhood Project and had one of the highest levels of child poverty in the district, according to the End Child Poverty campaign.

Despite the figures, Harrogate borough councillor for the Minster ward and Ripon city Coun Stuart Martin – who is due to take over as chairman of the project – said: “Although these statistics are worrying, Ripon is a pretty safe area to live generally – but it could be better. There is a lot of good work going on and we need to work with the police to really establish what has caused these problems.