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					T H E      G W Y N E D D            C R I M E        &       D I S O R D E R         A U D I T         2 0 0 1

First the good news : the levels of Crime and Disorder in Gwynedd are below the average for North Wales.
And more good news : they are also lower than the UK average!

The best news of all is that this makes Gwynedd a very safe place in which to live!

Of course, there has to be some bad news : we do indeed have incidents of Crime and Disorder in
Gwynedd. This affects all our lives, and our quality of life too. Another piece of not-so-good news is the
fact that being better than the average can make us complacent.

Gwynedd Council and the North Wales Police are certainly not complacent about this important issue : we
are determined to make Gwynedd an even safer, an even better place in which to live. Over the past two
years, Gwynedd Council has been working with the Western Division of the North Wales Police and other
agencies to gather information about community safety problems in Gwynedd. Based on this information,
we have ideas of our own about the current problems and how to address them.

But before we start putting a full-scale plan together, we want to do one more round of information
gathering – the most important of all. We’re now asking you, the people of Gwynedd, to tell us if the
information gathered so far is relevant to your own experience of living here on a day to day basis. Have
we got it right? Have we got the balance right? Where should the priorities be? Have you any other ideas
and comments which will improve not only the quality of your life, but the life of each and every one of
us who lives here?

In other words : this is our truth – now you tell us yours.

What do we want you to do?

Since 1999 the Gwynedd Community Safety Executive Group has been working hard on the existing
Strategy to Reduce Crime and Disorder. The group includes the Police; the Chief Executive’s department
within the Council, together with Education, Housing and Social Services; the Fire Service; the Health Trust
and Local Health Group; the Probation Service and the Magistrates’ Courts Committee. All of these are
responsible to you for reducing the already low levels of crime in Gwynedd. We need to be able to answer
these questions :

(a)     WHAT are the real issues / problems?
(b)     WHERE do those issues / problems arise?
(c)     WHY do those problems arise?
(d)     HOW can we reduce them?

Lies, Damned Lies and ...

... yes, Statistics. The information gathered so far, and some of the conclusions reached, are mainly based
on statistics such as the number of crimes recorded by the Police, and others. These are undeniable facts.
Nevertheless, they may not give us the complete picture - for example, if incidents are never reported to
the Police at all. We think this may be true for some if not several incidents of different types - this is where
you can help by telling us about your experiences.

We have compiled the available information to show the type of crimes and disorder occurring in
Gwynedd, how these incidents vary from one area to another, and how different crimes are prevalent in
different circumstances. A full copy of the Audit document is available, showing this information in greater
detail than we can fit into this booklet (see contact details at the end).

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These statistics can provide you with information about the situation in your particular part of Gwynedd.
They may confirm what you already know – but they may also surprise you! We hope they will also make
you think, and that they may also challenge some existing ideas. For example, we commonly think that
youths commit crimes against the elderly : some do, of course, but the statistics show that they most often
offend against other youths of the same age. And what about the popular notion that crime is rooted in
poverty and deprivation? The information we have gathered so far suggests that this may not be the whole

Most of the figures quoted relate to individual electoral wards in Gwynedd, usually quoted as the number
of crimes per 1000 people living within that area. In many ways, this gives a better idea of how incidents
affect the community as a whole. For example, 100 burglaries (for example) occurring in the city of Bangor
will undoubtedly be a problem – but the same number of burglaries in a smaller town such as Dolgellau
would have a far more devastating effect upon that community as a whole.


What is Crime?

A crime may be described as an act or conduct that is prejudicial to the community to such an extent that
it is specified in law as ’criminal’, with particular punishments laid down by statute. ’Crimes’ can range
from some types of vehicle offences to murder. The main types we in Gwynedd have to contend with are
burglary, damage, violent crime, drug-related offences, thefts and vehicle crimes. These are similar to the
crimes committed elsewhere in North Wales. We are fortunate that we are below the average figures for
the area as a whole.

How much crime?

The total number of crimes in Gwynedd remained similar during the past 3 years : 6501 in 1998-99,
dropping by approx 500 in 99-2000, but rising again by 200 incidents during 2000-2001 to a total of 6178

The rise and fall can sometimes be attributed to specific police campaigns e.g. a concerted offensive against
drugs led to an increase to about 550 recorded cases in 1998-99. This was then halved to approx 275 in
2001-2002. On the other hand, incidents involving damage and theft increased during the same period :
can this be related to the lack of a police campaign? Or are there other considerations?

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’Top 20’ Crime Hotspots

Where does crime occur? The bad news is ”everywhere”. The slightly better news is that, as might be
expected, crime levels do tend to be higher where there are more people and therefore tends to be
concentrated in Bangor and Caernarfon. In a list of the ”Top 20 Crime Hotspots”, measured according to
the actual number of incidents, Bangor and Caernarfon wards take the top 8 places, and other wards in or
near Bangor occupy a further 4 places in the chart.

However, if we look at this information in terms of the proportion of crimes per 1000 inhabitants within an
area, the picture changes considerably – and quite surprisingly, perhaps. The dominance of the Bangor
and Caernarfon wards is now interrupted by the appearance of Abersoch in Hotspot number 4, although
it did not feature at all in the previous chart. The same is true of Abererch, which now appears at number
18. On the other hand, Dolgellau and Barmouth do not appear in this Top 20 at all.

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This reflects the effect of crimes on more rural communities, as well as on larger centres of population.
Should resources be allocated to areas where the number of crimes are highest (Bangor and Caernarfon),
or to the outlying areas where they may have a greater effect on the smaller communities? Tell us your

The Crime and Place
It is no surprise that the levels of individual types of crimes varies from place to place. Store theft, for
example, is at its highest in Bangor city centre. The table below summarises the six most prevalent types
of crime according to the Top 20 wards affected.
Rank        Assault          Damage           Theft              Theft from           Store Theft       Burglary
                                                                Motor Vehicles                        (other than

1          Bangor –          Bangor –       Bangor –             Caernarfon –          Bangor –        Llandygai
            Deiniol           Deiniol        Deiniol                Menai               Deiniol
2        Caernarfon –        Bangor –      Caernarfon –          Caernarfon –        Caernarfon –      Bangor –
           Cadnant           Marchog          Seiont                Seiont             Cadnant          Deiniol
3        Caernarfon –      Caernarfon –     Bangor –               Bangor –            Bangor –           Bala
            Seiont            Seiont         Menai                  Deiniol              Dewi
4         Dolgellau /        Blaenau       Caernarfon –            Llandygai         Caernarfon –     Caernarfon –
          Llanelltyd /      Ffestiniog        Menai                                     Menai            Peblig
            Brithdir         (C&M)
5          Bangor –        Caernarfon –     Abersoch               Bangor –          Caernarfon –     Caernarfon –
            Menai            Cadnant                                Menai               Seiont           Seiont
6         Bethesda –       Caernarfon –    Caernarfon –        Blaenau Ffestiniog      Bangor –        Bangor –
           Ogwen              Menai           Peblig                (B&Rh)              Menai           Garth
7            Bala            Pwllheli –    Caernarfon –          Caernarfon –          Pwllheli –     Caernarfon –
                              North          Cadnant                Peblig              North            Menai
8         Pwllheli –        Dolgellau /     Bangor –             Caernarfon –            Bala          Abersoch
           South            Llanelltyd /     Garth                 Cadnant
9         Pwllheli –         Bowydd         Llandygai              Corris /          Porthmadog –     Caernarfon –
           North             & Rhiw                               Mawddwy                 East          Cadnant
10          Bethel          Bethesda –        Pentir               Llanwnda           Bethesda –         Pentir
                             Ogwen                                                     Ogwen
11       Caernarfon –      Porthmadog –     Barmouth               Y Felinheli         Bangor –          Glyder
            Peblig              East                                                    Hirael
12         Bangor –          Bangor –      Dolgellau /             Bangor –                -            Llanberis
           Marchog             Dewi        Llanelltyd /            Marchog
13        Barmouth           Llandygai      Pwllheli –             Waunfawr                            Bangor –
                                             North                                                     Marchog
14          Glyder           Bangor –       Bangor –              Llandwrog                -           Bowydd &
                              Menai           Dewi                                                       Rhiw
15          Blaenau        Caernarfon –      Dyffryn                 Pentir                -           Bangor –
       Ffestiniog (C&M)       Peblig        Ardudwy                                                     Menai
16         Llanberis          Tywyn         Abererch              Dolgellau /              -           Penrhyn-
                                                               Llanelltyd/Brithdir                     deudraeth
17       Bontnewydd          Bangor –       Bangor –            Dolbenmaen /               -           Llandwrog
                              Garth         Marchog              Beddgelert
18        Deiniolen         Barmouth         Llanrug               Bangor –                -           Bangor –
                                                                    Hendre                               Dewi
19          Pentir             Bala         Y Felinheli         Bangor – Dewi              -           Abererch
20           Blaenau         Abersoch       Bangor –              Bethesda –               -             Tywyn
       Ffestiniog (B&Rh)                     Hendre                Ogwen

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What do these figures tell us? The main feature is that they reflect the areas concerned. Llandygai, for
example, is a small village but has a large industrial estate. Abersoch is a popular and affluent water-sport
resort, and of course Starcoast World (formerly Butlins) is located near Abererch. As such, these areas may
present attractive targets for criminals involved in theft and burglary. But these crimes are also committed
in residential areas of other towns and cannot be directly linked to outside factors.

Similarly, how do we explain the higher incidence of assault and damage in smaller towns such as
Dolgellau, Bala and Blaenau Ffestiniog? Are they alcohol related? Is there a higher proportion of thugs in
these areas? Or not enough Police? Are there other factors, too? And what should we do about it?

As a resident, you will know your own area best – and we’d like you to tell us your views. If you can identify
a problem and a possible solution for your own community, it may also be relevant to other communities
in different parts of Gwynedd. And that’s how we can build a strategy together.

Time for Crime?

Most crimes are committed late at night at the weekends, but this varies for the different types of incident
– e.g. store thefts happen during the day; assaults are more likely late on Friday and Saturday nights.
Assault, damage, damage to motor vehicles and public order offences are mainly committed at the

Who’s doing it?

In the popular imagination, the A55 has given criminals from outside the area the opportunity to swoop
on Gwynedd and then escape with their booty. There may be an element of truth in this, but the facts
show that, sadly, the criminals are far closer to home.

Of the detected crimes, 84% are committed by Gwynedd people against other Gwynedd people. Indeed,
more than 70% of the crimes committed were carried out by persons living within 5 miles of the scene of
the crime.

Almost 30% of crimes are carried out by young people under 18 years of age. One prominent feature to
come out of the statistics is that the majority of crimes committed by young men (under 18 yrs) are against
other young men in the same age group – not against elderly people. The remaining 70% of crimes are
evenly distributed across all ages up to 45. And it’s not confined to men : over 20% of criminals are

In addition to Police statistics, the Youth Offending Team and the Probation Service provide useful further
information, based on their detailed work with known offenders. Taking the total figures for both agencies
together, 60% of those under the care of either agency are aged under 17, 20% are aged between 18 and
25, and 20% are over 25 years of age.

There is a high level of repeat offending. The number of criminals is about 72% of the number of crimes,
which means that the same people are carrying out many of the ”extra” crimes. There is no particular
difference between men and women in this respect.


The term ’disorder’ as used in this survey has a very wide definition. The main types incident are calls made
to the police reporting ”anti-social behaviour”, and abandoned telephone calls. Disorder also includes
several categories such as domestic disputes, drunkenness, noisy parties, disorderly behaviour, and
neighbourhood disputes, which feature in the Top 10 types of disorder. Many of these are not necessarily
defined by law as ”criminal”.

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However, while they may be less serious than cases of Crime, and some incidents such as drunkenness can
even be viewed as mildly amusing, some types of Disorder can lead to extremely serious consequences.
Drunkenness can lead to assault and, as is true of domestic violence, can lead to the death of a victim. We
in Gwynedd are committed to improving our record in dealing with Disorder, so that the quality of all our
lives is improved.

There is some definite good news : the incidence of Disorder has decreased overall from 9887 cases in
1998-99 to 8183 in 1999-2000, but with a slight increase during 2000 – 2001 to 8665 cases. This is still
significantly down by 1200 cases. However, domestic disputes, alcohol-related incidents and nuisance
phone calls have all increased during the last year.

Where does it happen?

By and large the pattern for Disorder corresponds to that for Crime. All towns in Gwynedd have their share
of incidents, but once again Bangor and Caernarfon show the highest levels. The centres of the other main
towns in Gwynedd are next, with Tywyn and Nefyn also featuring.

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By interpreting the levels of Disorder per 1000 of the local population, the picture changes as it did for
Crime. Of the Top 10 areas registering 100+ incidents per 1000 inhabitants, Bangor and Caernarfon are
not quite as prominent. Certain quarrying communities and some coastal resorts then appear in the Top

You know best what goes on in your area, and the problems that affect your quality of life. You may even
have a simple solution for a particular situation! Please let us know your thoughts, so that we can eliminate
at least some disorder in your area – and possibly throughout Gwynedd.

The whole truth?

There are some types of incidents that are classed here as Disorder that can, in fact, have very serious
consequences. These deserve particular attention – and not least because we believe that the official
statistics reveal only part of the true picture.

Racially motivated offences :

Racially-motivated crime is low within Gwynedd, according to the available records : only 20 cases reported
in 2000/2001, these being widely dispersed throughout the area. We suspect that this does not fully reflect
the situation - can you help us provide a better picture?

Drug-related crime :

Despite the high profile of drug-related problems in all walks of life, according to our statistics the incidence
of drug-trafficking in Gwynedd is very low. Again, we suspect that this is not the full picture. This offence
is most often detected in town centres – indeed, 60% of the cases detected in the whole of Gwynedd were
in Bangor and Caernarfon. However, the problem also affects individuals and communites in rural areas;
if you are aware of drug-related situations in your area, please let us know – you could be saving someone’s

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence or Abuse covers a wide spectrum, from over-heated family arguments to violent attacks
which can cause serious injury or even death.

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Domestic violence is certainly a problem, but is yet another that is difficult to quantify exactly. The timing
of cases (peaking between 10pm and midnight, and especially on Saturdays and Sundays) suggests a link
between this type of violence and the abuse of alcohol. Areas where levels of domestic incidents are above
the average for Gwynedd are Caernarfon, Dyffryn Ogwen, Bangor, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Pwllheli and Dyffryn

Safety on Public Transport.

Fortunately, there are few continuous risks to people using public transport in Gwynedd. However, isolated
incidents on bus journeys or on train station platforms can cause unpleasantness at the time; as well as
affecting other passengers, they have the additional effect of deterring car users from using public
transport. Taxis and private hire drivers are often subjected to unpleasant behaviour from passengers, but
not to the extent experienced in large towns and cities. If you are affected by this problem – let us know.

Environmental Problems

Many complaints about noise or pollution are directed to the Council’s Environmental Health Department
and, outside office hours, are often reported to the Police. Illegal tipping of rubbish and abandoned cars
(often burnt out) top the list, followed by wandering dogs and fouling by dogs. Domestic or
neighbourhood noise are also a relevant issue.

Problems within Education

Whilst young people – some of them very young - are often blamed for both crime and disorder incidents,
absence from school within Gwynedd is far lower than the average for Wales. Numbers excluded either
temporarily or permanently from school show an average of 2.2% - also well below the Wales average.
Certain schools – notably in the Bangor and Dyffryn Ogwen catchment areas – have higher than average

Disorder Days?

The most prevalent form of disorder is ”anti-social behaviour”. This occurs mainly between 6 and 10pm.
Half the incidents of disorder take place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, between 6pm and
midnight. In general, disorder tends to increase during the summer months by 13%.

This could be due to holiday makers – but don’t forget that Gwynedd residents also have holidays during
the summer – as do the local schools. Does this play a part in the disorder you experience in your
community? Young people are often blamed for disorder and are in fact sometimes responsible: this could
possibly be addressed constructively by organising activities during the school holidays, for example. We’d
like to know!

                             WHO’S DOING THIS - AND WHY?

There are many factors involved in criminal behaviour and disorder, and many reasons put forward as to
why people break the law. There are several ways of looking at the situation. Is it inevitable that every
community will be a home to some that are, quite simply, bad people? Others may feel that people are
inherently good, but that circumstances lead them into law-breaking behaviour.

Gwynedd Council is home to several departments that can make a difference to people’s lives, such as
Social Services, Economic Development, Housing and Environmental Health. We are committed to
fulfilling our responsibilities towards community safety in each and every one of our departments. You can
help us do this by giving us feedback on your particular community.

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Deprivation and Offenders

Is there a relationship between deprivation and Crime and Disorder? It is certainly one of the most popular
theories of this day and age. Once again, statistics can bear out both sides of the coin.

Many wards in Gwynedd are amongst the worst in Wales in terms of unemployment, housing standards,
health, child poverty, low incomes and the services available. Indeed, six wards have been selected by the
National Assembly as deserving of special attention, as they are in the top 100 ”worst” wards in Wales.

For some locations, there does seem to be a direct link between the different measures that indicate
deprivation, and the levels of crime and disorder within the ward. Information from the Youth Offending
Team shows that a high proportion of persistent young offenders do in fact live in such deprived areas.
Most of these young offenders have behavioural, thinking and lifestyle problems, are misusing alcohol and
/ or drugs, or simply don’t want to change their ways. Approximately 80% of the young offenders are

Probation Service statistics allow us to look at the situation from yet another perspective. Of the offenders
subject to various Orders, 88% were male. The assessments carried out by the Probation Service have
revealed the following factors as relevant to offending behaviour :

        unemployment                       55%;
        financial problems                 58%;
        family problems                    28%;
        unsuitable accommodation           16%;
        mis-use of leisure                 43%;
        unruly companions                  44%;
        alcohol                            35%;
        drugs                              30%;
        emotional / personal               13%;
        attitudes / orientation              8%.

Once again these are factors that many Council services can address.

However, this is not the whole story. There are many ”officially” deprived communities that have very low
levels of crime and disorder. The overall levels of crime throughout Gwynedd are low although we have
several ”deprived” wards. It bears remembering, too, that although a community may not be affluent, it
may be very rich indeed in other ways : a strong sense of community arising from cultural and other
activities, for instance.

Irrespective of the problems associated with crime and disorder, the inhabitants of these communities
deserve special attention to improve the quality of their lives, and Gwynedd Council – in partnership with
other agencies – has initiated several schemes to do so. If this also improves community safety problems in
these areas, or reduces the tendency for a small proportion to offend, this will be a bonus. Any contribution
you can make to guide our efforts will be very welcome.

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                                  YOUR IDEAS FOR THE FUTURE

Whatever the consultation process reveals – both about these issues, and / or any new ones - what could
be included in the strategy to try and reduce these problems? We’d like you to tell us! You may have
comments on a particular problem - and you may have a solution to offer. Here are some pointers, to get
you started :

           •      Do the main conclusions of this survey reflect the situation in your community, and your
                  experience? If not, what other conclusions have you identified?

           •      Which of these situations should get the highest priority from Gwynedd Council, the Police
                  and others? Should the priorities reflect the problems as illustrated here? Are there any
                  other matters would you like to highlight?

           •      What actions should be taken to address these issues, over and above what is already being
                  done? Which actions are most important, in your opinion?

Gwynedd Council and North Wales Police welcome your comments on these topics, and any other issues
of community safety that face the people of Gwynedd today. They may already be included in this report
– they may be something else entirely, that you yourself have identified. You may have already solved a
problem in your community – if so, it could help others, if you tell us about it. In either case – let us know!

How to let us know :

By post :         Clive James, Chief Executive’s Department, Gwynedd Council, Caernarfon LL55 1SH

By fax :          (01286) 679 488

e-mail :

Please send your comments by 30 November 2001 at the latest.

A full copy of the Audit document is also available from the above address, or by telephoning
(01286) 679 613.


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