Schoolgirl's Freedom of Information project offers startling insight into crime

By Adrian Darbyshire in Crime

We might have the lowest crime rate since 1970.

But it might not seem like that to some Manx residents - and it has taken one girl’s school project to reveal the scale and variety of criminal activity in one small area of Douglas.

She found out that no fewer than 64 crimes were committed in just a six-seven month period within a 500m radius of her home in Murray’s ward.

The information was revealed by police following a Freedom of Information request made as part of her school project on crime.

Freedom of Information legislation was rolled out to all government departments, the police and the Clerk of Tynwald’s office on January 1, having previously only applied to the Cabinet Office and the Department of Enviroment, Food and Agriculture.

So far just two requests have been dealt with by the Manx Constabulary.

A father writing on behalf of his daughter explained that she had been tasked with doing a project on crime, and had asked for information on how many crimes had been committed within a few hundred yards in the area where she lives.

The response listed 64 crimes that have been committed within a 500m radius in the area specified in Murray’s ward, Douglas, between June 1 last year and January 24.

These included 10 offences of criminal damage to cars and nine of possession of a class B drug.

There were five incidents of criminal damage and five of common assault.

Four offences of theft from a dwelling are listed, as are four burglaries.

There were three unclassfied thefts, three thefts of bicycles and three offences of domestic violence. And there were three reported crimes involving possession of class A drugs with intent to supply.

Of the remaining offences, there was one offence each of money laundering, indecent assault on a male, theft from a motor vehicle, making off without payment, burglary, grievous bodily harm with intent, going equipped for theft, theft from a shop and possession of an offensive weapon in a public place.

There was also one offence against the Proceeds of Crime Act, and one case each of theft of a mobile phone, production of class B drugs and wounding with intent.

Finally, there were two crimes of affray, one using violence or threatened violence and the other causing harassment, alarm or distress.

Figures released last summer showed the number of crimes recorded has fallen below 2,000 for the first time in more than 45 years. A total of 1,968 crimes were recorded for the 12 months to April 2016, a 10 per drop against the average for the past three years and a big decrease since 2000 when more than 6,000 crimes were reported.

Isle of Man Newspapers has been one of the biggest users of the FoI Act - as we were of the voluntary code on access to government information.

We requested information on losses at the Meat Plant and for disclosure of health and safety investigation reports into the Snaefell Mountain Railway tram crash, the MER tram crash at Laxey, the Mount Murray Hotel fire and the bouncy castle accident on Douglas promenade.

We successfully challenged a decision to reject our request from the Snaefell tram crash report.

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Gav · 128 days ago · Report

I always beleived the true crime figures were far higher and worse than we are told. This proves it in my eyes. A safe place to work and live ? No.Not on your nelly. But the FOI has also being manipulated by some, and info supplied is filtered to look far better. Beleive nothing from Gov.

Manx born (formerl CV) · 128 days ago · Report

You might have a long wait Coeus. He is too busy tweeting photographs of Casteltown and videos of President Trump.

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