‘More done to make South Yorkshire people safer’

Janet Kesley (left)
Janet Kesley (left)

VICTIMS of crime said today reassuring statistics aren’t enough to help them overcome their ordeals – and called for extra police officers on the streets.

Linda Smith, aged 56, of Neville Close, Wombwell, Barnsley, who was beaten up by a burglar who broke into her h ome to steal just £35 in change, said she now fears for her safety.

She was pushed to the floor in her home by a man who stood on her chest while he demanded cash.

“The man who did this is still out there, free to do it to somebody else,” she said.

“It has made me feel unsafe on the streets too, especially when I see groups of youths hanging about.

“Crime might be down but the police need to do more to make people feel safer – we need to see them more.”

Janet Kelsey, 45, from Sharrow in Sheffield, whose 91-year-old father had to be rescued from his home after his wheelie bin was set alight by an arsonist, said: “My dad can’t remember anything about it, which is a blessing, but it left his family feeling very angry and frustrated.

“I personally don’t feel safer in South Yorkshire.

“My father’s neighbour was pelted with conkers as he walked down the street recently and a plasterer carrying out repairs at my dad’s house had his tyres slashed.

“We did see some extra police cars immediately afterwards, when the police said they would make their presence in the area felt, but that seems to have stopped.”

Dave Marshall, who was robbed while taking money to the bank from Southey Green Working Men’s Club, said: “It doesn’t feel like crime is going down – on Saturday night somebody was knifed in the Co-op in Southey, and there have been a couple of shootings here.

“This week there was a man murdered in Maltby in a pub I used to drink in and last month there was an attempted armed robbery at the betting office on Halifax Road.

“These are not minor crimes – they are all serious violent crimes – so even though the figures may show a three per cent drop in crime it feels to me like things are getting worse.”

He said the club no longer takes its cash to the bank in person, but uses a specialist security firm instead.

Full-time carer Kevin Cooper, 52, from Wybourn, said: “They can’t have looked on our estate for these figures. It’s terrible. The police need to be doing more.

“There are break-ins, car thefts, idiots on motorbikes, kids hanging about causing hassle. Every time my daughter comes up to my house they shout and bawl at her. Any young lasses get intimidated.”

Full-time mum Nikki Machin, 32, from Heeley, said: “I don’t think crime has gone down. You see it and hear about it every single day – at home and in the city centre. There are burglaries, car thefts, people stealing stuff for scrap metal. I had someone try to nick a trampoline out of my back garden while I was asleep. They tried to dismantle it.”

But retired Mary Tudor, 66, from Shiregreen, said: “Where I live we haven’t had a lot of crime recently. We used to.

“I think it is community support officers that make the difference. People see them patrolling in their uniform and it sends the right message.”

And civil servant Tim Charlloner, 26, from Swallownest, said: “The figures sound about right. There isn’t much violence. It’s a safe city and I never feel threatened.

“The police do a good job. You could do a lot worse. There are much worse places for crime.”