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Staying Safe

Welcome to the Staying Safe section of Cumbria’s Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) 2015 onwards.

The latest JSNA Staying Safe chapter can be accessed via the link below:

JSNA Staying Safe chapter 2016

Key issues and recommendations

As summarised in the above chapter.

Key issues

Cumbria is a relatively safe place in which to live, work and visit.  In many areas, crime and community safety issues are better than the national and / or North West regional average and these areas are identified within this JSNA chapter.  However, evidence within this chapter suggests there are some areas of concern in relation to ‘staying safe’.

There is not always a correlation between the chances of becoming a victim of crime and the fear of crime.  Of the 21 wards identified as being least safe, around one in five (19.0%, 4) did not rank in the top 15 wards for any fear of crime categories.

The link between crime and deprivation is well documented and has long been understood.  Cumbria has 29 communities (Lower Super Output Areas) that rank within the 10% most deprived in England, with the most deprived community in the county located within Central ward in Barrow-in-Furness.  In total, over half (52.4%, 11) of the 21 wards identified as being least safe contain communities that rank within the 10% most deprived in England.

Protected characteristics can make people more vulnerable to crime and safety.  Evidence within this JSNA chapter shows that age, gender and pregnancy are factors: pregnant women are vulnerable to domestic abuse; young females (particularly those aged 25 to 29 years) are more likely to be victims of violence against the person offences; females are more likely to be victims of sexual offences, particularly those aged from 0 to 17 years.  Disability, transgender, race, religion and belief, and sexual orientation are drivers of hate crime incidents. Age and disability are additional factors making people vulnerable.

Crime and community safety: who is at risk?

Evidence within this chapter indicates that the group most likely to become victims of crime as well as offenders are males aged between 18 and 30 years.  There are some exceptions, and gender is a factor in becoming a victim in some crime areas.  Females aged between 18 and 30 years are more likely to become victims of theft from the person offences and young females are more likely to become victims of sexual offences.  In 2015-16, three quarters (75.4%) of victims of sexual offences were female, with those aged from 0 to 17 years the group most at risk. 

Violence against the person affects both sexes.  Both males and females aged between 18 and 30 years are more likely to become victims of violence against the person offences, whilst those aged 18 to 40 years are the group most at risk of alcohol related violence against the person offences.

People missing from home are more likely to be aged from 12 to 17 years and living in residential care homes or local authority care.  Children missing from home are the group who are most at risk of experiencing abuse and sexual exploitation. 

In 2014-15, the majority (79.1%) of First Time Entrants to the Youth Justice System were male.  A large proportion (29.4%) of First Time Entrants had already had involvement with Cumbria’s Children’s Services.

Cumbria’s communities face risks in their own homes.  Fire is a greater risk for people who smoke, for those who live in areas where there are high levels of poverty and deprivation, those who are single parent families, single person households, social renters, those who are disabled or suffer from illness, or those who are unemployed.

Adults (those aged 18 and over) with health or social care needs are more at risk of abuse or neglect.

Out and about on the county’s roads, it is young, recently qualified drivers who are most at risk of death or serious injury whilst driving.  Young male drivers are the group more likely to incur risks by drink-driving and drug-driving.  

Crime and Community Safety Trends

In 2015-16, overall crime levels increased in Cumbria by +5.0% (+1,243) compared to 2014-15, and +8.4% (+2,018) compared to 2013-14.  Of Cumbria’s districts, the largest percentage increase was seen in South Lakeland +14.9% (+516).  The highest number and rate of overall crime was seen in Castle ward in the Carlisle district with a total of 1,820 crimes, a rate of 317.6 per 1,000 population.

Offence rates varied across different crime categories.  Burglary (dwelling) offences increased in 2015-16 by +7.9% (+56) compared to 2014-15 and +9.3% (+65) compared to 2013-14.  The highest percentage increase occurred in the Copeland district +28.4% (+23) whilst Carlisle had the highest crime rate for burglary (dwelling) at 2.2 per 1,000 population.

Violence against the person offences increased +12.6% (+826) in 2015-16 compared to the 2014-15.  Barrow-in-Furness had the highest offence rate for violence against the person offences (21.3 per 1,000) whilst Carlisle had the highest number of crimes (2,017).  Domestic abuse incidents increased by +1.1% (+81) in 2015-16 compared to 2014-15 and by +2.8% (+195) compared to 2013-14.  Eden district had the largest increase in recorded domestic abuse incidents (+19.0%; +60); the largest number of recorded domestic abuse incidents occurred in the Carlisle district (1,887). 

Reported sexual offences also increased in 2015-16, by +23.5% (+163) compared to 2014-15, and +102.1% (+433) compared to 2013-14.  Increases were seen in all districts except Allerdale and Barrow-in-Furness.  Carlisle district had the largest percentage increase +58.9% (+76).  Although hospital admissions for violent crime (including sexual violence) have decreased in 2012-13/2014-15, the rate in Barrow-in-Furness (69.0 per 100,000) remains significantly worse than England (47.5).

Anti-social behaviour incidents increased in Carlisle and Allerdale in 2015-16 comparted to 2014-15 (+20.4% / +192 and +17.9% / +108 respectively).    Criminal damage offences (including arson) increased across the county by +5.0% (+245) compared to 2014-15.

Recorded hate crimes (all types) also saw an increase across the county, rising by +12.1% (+41) to a total of 379 in 2015-16 compared to 2014-15, +60.6% (+143) compared to 2013-14.  Hate crime increase across all Cumbria’s districts, and the majority were racially motivated.  Copeland district experienced the highest percentage increase (+100% / +25). 

In 2013, almost a third of Cumbria’s offenders (29.1%) went on to re-offend, +1.7 percentage points compared to the previous year.  This proportion is higher than both the proportion in the North West (28.0%) and England (26.4%).  The largest proportion of offenders who went on to re-offend in 2013 occurred in Barrow-in-Furness district (31.8%).

Alcohol has a significant impact on crime and community safety being directly involved in 13.9% (3,626) of all crimes in 2015-16, +2.4% (+84) compared to 2014-15.  Alcohol played a part in a large proportion of all violence against the person offences in 2015-16 (29.3%; 2,161). 

Eden district saw the largest percentage rise in all alcohol related crimes in 2015-16 (+24.0%; +42) and the second largest percentage increase in alcohol related violence against the person offences (+9.8%; +11).

The largest increase in terms of numbers of all alcohol related crimes occurred in the Carlisle district +153 (+18.2%), and Carlisle also saw the largest percentage increase in alcohol related violence against the person offences in 2015-16, +10.1% (+52).  Support is available from Unity Drug and Alcohol Services Cumbria (Unity) for people misusing drugs and alcohol. Reflecting the rise in alcohol related crime, the data show that alcohol misuse referrals to Unity increased in Carlisle in 2015-16 (+5.9%, +16).  Carlisle had the largest number of Unity drug and alcohol clients in 2015-16 of all the districts (790 clients).  Alcohol misuse is having a detrimental effect on health within the Carlisle district, with an increase in the district’s male alcohol specific mortality rate of +23.8% to 14.7 per 100,000 in 2012-14, the second highest percentage increase of all the districts.

Barrow-in-Furness had the second largest number of Unity drug and alcohol clients in 2015-16 (616 clients).  Data show that alcohol specific hospital admissions (all persons, all ages) in Barrow-in-Furness (689 per 100,000) are significantly worse than both the North West (558) and England (364), having increased by +13.9% compared to 2012-13 and by +17.8% compared to 2010-11.  Across Cumbria, alcohol specific hospital admissions for under 18 year olds in 2012-13/2014-15 (crude rate 58.2 per 100,000 population) are similar to the North West region (53.5 per 100,000) and significantly worse than England (36.6 per 100,000).  However, within the Barrow-in-Furness district, alcohol specific hospital admissions for under 18 year olds (90.2 per 100,000) are significantly worse than the North West.  This is also the case in the Copeland district, where alcohol specific hospital admissions for under 18 year olds at 104.4 per 100,000 population are significantly worse than the North West, and the highest of all Cumbria’s districts.

Alcohol specific hospital admissions (all persons, all ages) in South Lakeland in 2014-15 (333 per 100,000) are now similar to England (364), having previously been significantly better.

Alcohol misuse is having a detrimental impact on health in the Allerdale district.  Allerdale’s female alcohol specific mortality rate in 2012-14 (16.4 per 100,000) increased by +25.2% compared to the 2011-13 rate of 13.1 and by +72.6% compared to the 2010-12 rate of 9.5 and was significantly worse than England (7.4) in 2012-14.  Allerdale district’s male alcohol specific mortality rate also increased in 2012-14 by +47.2% to 22.5 per 100,000, the highest percentage increase of all Cumbria’s districts.

Copeland was the only district in 2015-16 with a significant increase in drug misuse referrals to Unity (+18.5%; +38).

Vulnerable Adult alerts to Cumbria County Council’s Health and Care Services increased by +20.3% (+397) to 2,349 in 2015-16 compared to the previous year.  The incidence of physical abuse made up 48% of all referrals, significantly higher than the England average of 27%.  Psychological abuse (12%) and financial abuse (13%) are slightly below the England averages of 16% and 18% respectively.  Neglect has risen by 3.0 percentage points to 25% of all cases, but is below the England average of 29%.  The majority of alerts (47%) continue to be in relation to people living in a care home setting, higher than the England average of 36%.

Recommendations for consideration by commissioners

This JSNA Staying Safe chapter identifies a range of factors which can have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of Cumbria’s communities.  Although different aspects of crime and community safety have been addressed separately, the groups and communities affected are often similar, and the issues should not be viewed in isolation.  It is recommended that commissioners consider all aspects included within this JSNA chapter when developing services to support communities to be safe, and feel safe, in Cumbria.

Evidence and research

Evidence and research information including briefings and other publications supporting the Stay Safe theme of the JSNA is available below:

Further information

For further information relating to the Staying Safe theme of the JSNA please contact:

Catherine White
Senior Analyst
Performance & Intelligence - Performance & Risk Unit
Cumbria County Council
Email: catherine.white@cumbria.gov.uk
Tel: 07974 327370