Locals say ‘Shire is a safe place

Nearly all (98%) Aberdeenshire residents who responded to a recent survey say they feel Aberdeenshire is a safe place to live.

Just under 700 people responded to the Aberdeenshire Citizens’ Panel survey on community safety which was conducted in May.

The results show that, overall, levels of safety in Aberdeenshire continue to improve.

Meanwhile, 2% of respondents felt that crime was a major problem in their area, and 4% felt anti-social behaviour was a major problem.

These views reflect figures from Grampian Police which show that the number of crimes and offences recorded in Aberdeenshire in 2011/12 was at the lowest level in at least eight years. This includes both serious violent crime, and vandalism.

Compared to the rest of Scotland, Aberdeenshire recorded the joint-lowest number of serious assaults per 10,000 of population, according to Scottish Government figures.

The survey results show that residents have witnessed or experienced crimes, like physical assaults, car crime, housebreaking and domestic abuse, less frequently in the last two years than previous years.

81% said that a fear of crime had no or little impact on how they lead their life – this represents an 11% improvement since 2009.

Despite the positive figures, some residents do still worry about crime, with 4% saying fear of crime has a major impact on how they lead their life, and 15% saying it has a moderate impact.

Almost all respondents said they feel safe walking alone during the day in their neighbourhood (99%) and in town centres (96%). When it came to walking alone after dark, 91% of survey respondents said they felt safe in their neighbourhood, while 62% felt safe in town centres (up 11% since 2009).

The top three priorities that respondents felt the Aberdeenshire Community Safety Partnership should tackle were anti-social driving, serious and violent crime and road safety – the same results given in the 2011 survey.

Chair of Aberdeenshire Community Planning Partnership, Councillor Jim Gifford, said: “The results paint a generally very positive picture of safety in Aberdeenshire and we continue to see positive trends in terms of crime rates falling.

“By continuing to work in partnership on projects focused on the prevention of crime and early intervention, I hope we will continue to see a fall in crime and the confidence of residents across Aberdeenshire increase further.”

Chair of Aberdeenshire Community Safety Partnership Executive, Willie Munro, said: “There do remain some anti-social behaviours that continue to feature at the top of the list of issues that residents witness or worry about, including dog fouling, littering and anti-social driving and key agencies including Aberdeenshire Council’s environmental health team and its roads team will be looking further at ways to address these concerns.”