Violent crime doubles over last five years across Walsall
Violent crime has soared in Walsall over the last five years, according to new figures.
The second half of 2017 saw a rise in crime in the borough, as serious incidents doubled compared to 2013.
Knife crime has also steadily risen, with more than 10 incidents recorded a month last year.
It comes after a series of stabbings in the Black Country since the start of the year, leading to urgent calls for action to tackle knife crime.
What did the report reveal?
A police report said violent crime had risen by around 60 per cent over the last five years.
Data showed an increase in serious incidents between April and December last year when there were more than 250 incidents a month.
That compared to the early part of 2014 when there were around 140.
There has also been a worrying increase in knife crime, from below 10 incidents a month on average at the start of 2015 to more than 15 since last June.
There were 23 knife-related incidents in Walsall in October.
The figures have been revealed amid a national debate over whether falling police numbers are to blame for rising crime levels.
The death toll of violent crime
The Black Country has been left reeling by a wave of stabbings in recent months.
Reagan Asbury, 19, died after being stabbed at a boxing event at Walsall Town Hall in October. Rezwan Ali, also 19, was knifed to death at a house party in Willenhall in January, while gym instructor James Brindley, 26, was was murdered as he walked home from a night out in Aldridge last June.
Walsall town centre councillor Aftab Nawaz believes the impact of cuts to police budgets was being seen on the streets.
He said: “Across the country crime rates are going up. The Government has cut police budgets hugely and it is having a huge impact.
“It is obvious to most people if you cut the amount of money the police have got, police officers will be cut and there will be an increase in crime.
“Crime has gone up and Walsall has been affected. I have spoken to constituents who have had difficulty getting through to police when something happens.
“Then confidence in the system deteriorates.”
Ch Insp Jason Anderson, of Walsall Police, said: “The rise in crime, specifically violent crime, mirrors an increase nationally.
“But here in Walsall, we are taking a tough stance following a number of stabbings in and around the town over recent months.
“There is a highly visible police presence within the town centre during peak periods such as weekends.”