Does Great Yarmouth have a knife problem?
PUBLISHED: 07:30 02 December 2018 | UPDATED: 15:31 02 December 2018
Residents living in a Norfolk borough which in the last two weeks has seen a pupil take a knife into a primary school and a man confronted by a masked attacker armed with a knife have been reassured they live in a 'safe area'.
Graham Plant, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council has issued a strong defence over the safety of the borough.
He has also reassured the community it has the appropriate measures in place to deal with crimes in the town.
This week, parents at St Nicholas Primary School expressed their shock after a key stage two pupil brought a knife onto the school’s premises.
A man also issued a stark warning to residents living in his village after an armed robber tried to steal his watch and car.
These incidents followed a video which emerged two weeks ago of a man waving a knife on a busy street in Great Yarmouth town centre.
Mr Plant believes “isolated incidents” should not overshadow the fact Great Yarmouth is “one of the safest areas in Norfolk”.
“We invest an awful lot of money into keeping people in the town safe and the statistics show we are one of the safest areas in Norfolk.
“There have been a couple of isolated incidents but these are not a regular occurrence. Great Yarmouth is a safe town,” he said.
A business owner has however warned people are too scared to go onto a popular street in the town centre.
Courtney Gallant, manager at Liberty’s Public House, on King Street said: “King Street is the place to be in Great Yarmouth at the weekend with all the clubs and bars, but I have noticed fewer people coming down.”
Edwin Trickler, 58, who lives in the town centre and has two young children said he is concerned by recent incidents.
He said: “It does make you worry and every time you hear about knife crimes it becomes an increasing concern.
“Unfortunately they seem to be becoming more common which is frightening.”
Kas Wagg, 56, said she walks home from work late at night but avoids St George’s Park to protect herself.
“I have not had any problems but there are certain places in the town centre I will avoid because you hear bad things about.
“I do feel safe walking the route I take though even when it is dark.”
A councillor in Great Yarmouth’s central ward believes there needs to be a zero tolerance approach to knife crime in the borough.
Michael Smith-Clare said: “The perception that people in the town think knife crime is increasing concerns me.
“Great Yarmouth is a wonderful place to visit and we do not want people to be worried about their safety when they come here.
“There needs to be greater education on the dangers of knives particularly in schools.”
Neil Clarke, 59, who moved from Birmingham to live in Great Yarmouth 10 years ago thinks the town is a safe place to be.
“There was definitely more crime in Birmingham. I have not had any trouble here and I really like the town,” he said.
Samad Abdul, 34, who has lived in Great Yarmouth for seven months said: “I have not experienced any major problems. Of course at night once people have had a drink there will be a few little incidents but I do feel safe in the town.
“It is not something I am too concerned about.”