THE extent of the county’s vandalism and criminal damage problem has been laid bare.
Figures released by North Wales Police after a Freedom of Information request by the Leader show that more than 3,500 incidents were recorded in the last three years.
A total of 3,638 criminal damage or vandalism offences occurred in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Last year there were 1,290 recorded incidents – up on the 2012 total of 1,257, but down on the 2011 tally of 1,353 county-wide.
Criminal damage across the county led to a combined property damage cost of £68,990 over the three-year period.
The amount of time spent by the police having to deal with criminal damage and vandalism-related crime dropped from a total of 58,102 days in 2012 to 38,896 days in 2013.
A North Wales Police spokesman said: “We take the issue of criminal damage very seriously and work with Flintshire Council and others on crime reduction schemes to help minimise incidents. We appeal to the public to report any incidents.”
A breakdown of the figures showed most criminal damage and vandalism happened in the 10 areas of Deeside: Connah’s Quay, Shotton, Queensferry, Aston, Sealand, Broughton, Hawarden, Ewloe, Mancot and Saltney.
Of the 1,353 crimes recorded in 2011, 513 were reported in the Deeside area. In 2012, 458 criminal damage crimes were recorded on Deeside, out of a total of 1,257 across Flintshire. In 2013, 530 of 1,353 incidents were on Deeside.
Over the three years, that means 41 per cent of the county’s reported incidents were on Deeside. About 38 per cent of Flintshire’s population live on Deeside.
At a meeting of Connah’s Quay town council in February, PCSO Sarah Hughes-Jones told members that criminal damage had become a problem in the wider Deeside area and their colleagues in Shotton hit out at individuals responsible for the MD7 graffiti that blighted their town in January.
In September last year, vandals struck at River View park in Connah’s Quay and sawed the end off a childrens’ see-saw.
Shotton councillor Mike Evans said: “These are just reported incidents, but there are so many more occurrences across Deeside.
“The area needs to be looked at and things need to be put in place to stop more vandalism occurring.
“There is a distinct lack of jobs in Deeside and I believe people are acting in this way out of frustration and are simply causing damage.”
Connah’s Quay member, Cllr Paul Shotton, added: “It is a disturbing trend and vigilance from the public is needed.
“Generally, things in Deeside are turning the corner and we will hopefully see an end to this type of behaviour.”