Hello, it is a nice cold bank holiday Monday and I have just found out I am in an area rife with danger. You wouldn’t know it to look out of the window. Eight doors up is a field with donkeys in it and the view from there is across the moorland where the Bronte sisters wrote their stuff. My neighbourhood is all conformist old houses and neat gardens. Yet here I am in the UK hotspot for personal violence.
West Yorkshire Tops Personal Attack Stats
I moved up this way about 24 years ago from what I considered to be a violent place. I am Liverpool city born and bred. I lived there for 30 years, I was a copper there and it definitely had its brawling moments. I was mugged there twice as a kid and it had a countrywide reputation as a car theft hotspot. That was undeserved at the time but the jokes stuck. It had a lot of car theft yet nearby Manchester was home to the local TV studios and got a glossy image. There car theft stats were worse. Crime is often more about perception after all. What was true and often joked about was a really cavalier attitude to other peoples property. If it wasn’t nailed down it was yours sort of thing.
A five minute walk from here, I am on country lanes and surrounded by stone walls and woods. It is a far cry from the city streets of my youth. Indeed it could not be further from anyone’s view of a muggers paradise.
There it is though in black and white, West Yorkshire is a violent place and it fazes me not a bit. It does not bother me even though five miles away in North Yorkshire I would be half as likely to be attacked. The reason I am relaxed is simple…This is not one of the city areas of West Yorkshire. It is a rural fringe that is almost North Yorkshire. In the constant separation of statistics by county area I have got used to this generalisation.
Bradford and Similar Are The Issue
Northern cities are frankly grim. I love my native Liverpool and I will give it this…it has colour. It has masses of charisma backed by fantastic architecture. Other than that though your average northern town has little to recommend it. In this region the very picturesque Yorkshire stone that forms most of the buildings is drab, blackened and often dank.
I live above a place that if it was a person it would be in a side room of a hospital ward and the family would already have been called in. Actually if it was a person I would have an undertaker already there with the doors to the hearse open. Last year Hope was beaten half to death and put on a train bound for Skipton. It barely survived. Someone opened a book and came out with an idea for rejuvenating the once mill town but they were denounced as a heretic and had to flee to the New World.
Okay I am making things up but the concept is accurate. Run by Labour and destroyed by a lack of imagination Keighley is a mini Bradford ( a city only eight miles away) and Bradford is just like all the other towns in the north. It was something, might have become something else, then missed the chance 30 years ago.
Violent Crime and a Lack of Hope
Wherever you have a lack of hope but have a lot of people you get crime. Wherever you have a lack of imagination to create that hope you are really in trouble. I would drive out and film the place for you but honestly I hate it so I won’t. You can tell a vibrant imaginative place with good civic leadership as soon as you look at it and here you see the opposite.
Home once of Peter Sutcliffe ( Yorkshire Ripper) Michael Samms ( two time murderer) and the Crossbow Killer ( I kid you not) this part of the world is not so much dangerous everyday as dangerously deluded.
Run by Labour councils all these northern towns sort of sit in grumpy decline. They rest on the laurels of hard working generations before. The problem is the work ethic has died and the imagination that drove the railways and industrialisation is lost in time.
However This Is Not a Dangerous Place
I stand by everything I say and from what I can tell the crime rate will get a lot worse but this is not a truly dangerous place. It is no Detroit or LA. It like its comrades in the north are just grubby and under developed with all the modern issues that forgotten places have. I recall Flint, Michigan as reminding me of the town near me. Keighley is like Flint, though thankfully it has fewer guns. It has areas that look like they are about to fall down and areas like mine that are just non descript and windswept.
The greatest risk you are at in these slowly decaying corners where enlightenment and motivation come to breath their last is dying of boredom.
What is your area like? Sun drenched, safe as houses or dull and a bit edgy? I have linked the article I read. So if you are in the UK see where your place does in the ratings.