Bristol has a long and grim history of crime. Amelia Dyer, possibly the most prolific female serial killer in history, murdered infants over a 20 year period. Joanna Yeates, a landscape architect from Hampshire, was reported as missing on the 17 December 2010 and was later found in Failand, having been strangled to death. And then there is the unsolved case of siblings June and Royston Sheasby, who at just seven and five, disappeared in June 1957. The case is still unsolved.
Along with these particularly shocking examples, there are of course the more mundane crimes happening in the city all the time: shoplifting, car theft, and pick pocketing, for instance.
So how are Bristolians fighting back against crime? And what tools are they using to do this? In what follows we consider some of the ways in which Bristol security is tackling crime head on.
Thanks to the Bristol Post there is now an interactive crime map which plots where these events are taking place. The map can be found at the following link: http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/bristol-crime-map-your-street-26071
Defensive Architecture, which includes features such as skate-stoppers (the metal obstructions fitted to street furniture to prevent skateboarding) and anti-homeless spikes, is a controversial topic. Its exponents assert the importance of preserving the fabric of our city, its detractors say that it impinges on our civil liberties. Where are the homeless meant to sleep, if we deter them even from our street corners? And where should the kids go to play, if not out in our cities, where they might engage with the rest of the public? In short, no one has the answers to these questions. But a cursory Google search will reveal that there is much debate over the issue.
Tactical deployment of Police force
We have come to expect trouble when certain football teams play one another. Gone are the days of fights on the terraces, but still the trouble spills out on to the streets, as it did recently in North Street, Bedminster. Two fans were rushed to hospital after the fight, and a crime scene was established on the road, which police blocking it for some time after the event. Since then locals have reported seeing an increased police presence outside of pubs and the stadium for all sporting events, with horses also regularly passing through the area.
These are just some of the many ways in which Bristolians are tackling crime, if you know of any novel projects similar to these, please do let us know!