Shocking police figures reveal the number of street assaults soared by 50% in the last three months of 2021 as lockdown restrictions eased, with 80% of the victims women
Almost 250,000 street attacks, mainly on women, have taken place in England and Wales since the murder of Sarah Everard, police figures reveal.
And the number of assaults soared by 50% in the last three months of 2021 as lockdown restrictions eased.
The shock statistics have led to renewed calls for the Government to do more to make streets safer.
One womens’ group leader said: “They haven’t acted with the urgency needed, despite promises a year ago.”
Although police street violence statistics aren’t broken down by gender, more than 80% of sexual attacks are reported by women.
Last March – when Sarah, 33, was raped and murdered by Met PC Wayne Couzens in South London after being abducted as she walked home – 16,645 attacks were reported in public places.
And 21,095 were logged in September – the month teacher Sabrina Nessa, 28, was killed by garage worker Koci Selamaj in a South-East London park.
Anna Birley, organizer of women’s rights group Reclaim These Streets, said of the overall 228,492 attacks in 2021: “These figures are shocking. It’s not wonder women feel unsafe. The numbers illustrate the scale of the problem. Hopefully, they will force the Government to take notice.”
Farah Nazeer, chief at Women’s Aid, added: “Women continue to feel unsafe on the streets. We continue to demand change until we no longer walk home in fear.”
The statistics, released by women’s safety app WalkSafe, also highlight the country’s most dangerous cities and towns, and specify where most attacks take place.
Parking areas are worst, accounting for 20% of sex attacks and violent street crimes. In second place at 15% are areas near sports and recreation facilities, followed closely by supermarkets at 14%.
The most dangerous neighborhoods were revealed to be in Leeds, followed by Liverpool and then Doncaster.
Emma Kay set up WalkSafe with her brother-in-law Richard to help keep women from harm on the streets.
It alerts safety contacts if users do not arrive home at the expected time and is the only safety app to offer a live map showing where crimes have occurred.
Emma said: “The number of violent and sexual street attacks in 2021 was appalling. It’s awful to think they are happening as women are parking, jogging or shopping. We know women are reluctant to report such attacks, so these figures are the type of the iceberg. That’s why we feel it’s so important to shine a light on what is happening.”
Ms Nazeer said: “Violence against women is a spectrum, from everyday misogyny so prevalent many people don’t even notice it right through to violent crimes and murder. We must tackle root causes of violence against women and challenge sexist attitudes.”
Other figures show 40,572 women were victims of sexual assault in the year ending September 2021, up 13% in a year and the highest number of sexual offenses recorded in a 12-month period. From April 2020 to March 2021 there was a drop in recorded cases of rape and sexual assault, likely due to lockdowns.
Most dangerous public places
At or near a parking area – 20%
At/near sports area – 15%
At/near supermarket – 14%
At/near shopping area – 8%
At/near petrol station – 8%
At/near pedestrian subway – 6%
At/near hospital – 6%
At/near nightclub – 6%
At/near park/open space – 4%
At/near police station – 4%
At/near further or higher educational building – 3%
Highest numbers of overall street attacks recorded in 2021, by police force
1. Metropolitan Police Service – 32,902
2. Essex Police – 10,901
3. Thames Valley Police – 10,471
4. Kent Police – 10,395
5. Hampshire Constabulary – 10,099
6. West Yorkshire Police – 9,829
7. Avon and Somerset Constabulary – 6,937
8. Sussex Police – 6,571
9. Devon & Cornwall Police – 6,519
10. Merseyside Police – 6,313
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.