SHEFFIELD has retained its claim as England’s safest major city - with residents running just a one per cent risk of suffering violent crime.
New figures from the Government, compiled from police forces covering the eight largest cities outside London, show Sheffield has the lowest rate of them all. In nearby Nottingham and Manchester, the chance of suffering a violent crime stands at nearer 2.5 per cent.
Violent crimes per 1,000 people in Sheffield last year numbered 10.59 incidents - and those resulting in injury accounted for half that, at 4.89 incidents per 1,000 people.
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Shaun Wright, said: “These results are fantastic for Sheffield. I am pleased we are being recognised as having the lowest violent crime among the country’s biggest cities. This is something we are keen to maintain.”
Sheffield Heeley MP Meg Munn said she believes Sheffield’s title of safest city is partly down to ‘good community work’.
“Sheffield’s reputation is important in terms of attracting people wanting to move here, and bringing in students,” she said.
“Policing now is much more intelligence-led and, when there is a spate of incidents, they put extra resources in to deal with it.”
But Sheffield Council is pledging to do even better, by continuing its ‘No More Wasted Lives’ campaign to encourage youngsters away from crime.
A £698,000 grant was awarded last year by the Home Office to fund help the work, which also includes South Yorkshire Police’s anti-gang work and ‘Knives Take Lives’ education campaign among young people.
The figures were praised - but youth workers, and a community leader whose friend’s son was murdered, said more does need to be done.
Rysz Szumski, a youth worker from Woodthorpe Development Trust, said: “I think Sheffield possibly deserves the title of safest city but there’s still a lot of underlying crime that doesn’t get reported.
“The council has been giving funding to agencies from outside the city to help work with young people, rather than to community groups like ours.
“We’ve just completed a second year of an anti-gangs project using some of the Home Office funding but the money has now run out.”
Abdul Abdulrub, chairman of the Yemeni Community Association - a friend of Rashid Chaiboub, whose teenage son Tarek was killed in a gangland shooting in Burngreave in 2008 - said: “Since Tarek’s death there have been several more people killed due to gun crime and there are still incidents between rival gangs.
“I think there need to be more police out on the streets, and that better engagement work needs to take place with young people - in their language - instead of just catching them and sending them to prison.”
Coun Jackie Drayton, Sheffield Council cabinet member for young people and families, said: “Sheffield is the fourth biggest city in the country but our levels of gang crime are very low compared to the other major cities.
“This was highlighted 18 months ago when Sheffield was not affected by riots while other large cities were.
“We cannot, though, avoid the fact that in 2010/11 there were approximately 13,000 emergency hospital admissions for assault among 13 to 24-year-olds in the UK, one in seven of which involved a knife or sharp object.”
Sheffield Council aims to further target problems including a disproportionately-high proportion of violent crime happening in deprived communities.
Other issues include addressing strong associations between childhood conduct disorders, adult psychiatric disorder and violent behaviour.