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Boston - A safe place to live and bring up your family?

Boston's senior policeman has risen to the challenge laid down by Boston Mayor Cllr Richard Austin for people to declare what makes the area special for them.

Cllr Austin has invited everyone to write to him about Boston's "great past and bright future" helping promote Boston to the wider world.

Cllr Austin is concerned with removing any unfair tarnish, and "talking up the Borough" during his year in office. Positive contributions from people appreciating where they live and work will appear on the "Boston - A Great Past and a Bright Future" page on the council's website - www.boston.gov.uk

You can email them direct to the Mayor at richard.austin@boston.gov.uk

Here Chief Insp Paul Timmins writes about why Boston is a good and safe place to live and backs his conclusions up with facts and figures.

Paul Timmins Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

As Chief Inspector for the uniformed police officers and staff who serve Boston, I am frequently asked whether Boston is a safe place to live. In recent years Boston has been compared to London, Nottingham and even New York (the one in the United States and not the one near Coningsby!). Comparisons such as these are never more than just an exercise in numbers, but for the sake of clarity I will compare five crime measures per 1,000 population; overall crime, violent crime, robbery, theft and burglary. See table below.

Timmins table Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

By these measures, Boston is safer than Lincoln, Nottingham and Peterborough. Crime has reduced by six per cent in past three years and anti-social behaviour by a staggering 28 per cent over the same period.

However safety is more than this. Feeling safe is as much about the perception and fear of crime as it is about the reality of crime. Perception by its very nature is almost impossible to measure because it is personal to individuals. I can only tell you my own perception of crime, how I feel when I walk through Boston (not as police officer but as a member of the public).

My experience is one of a vibrant, multi-cultural town that has a strong heritage and is proud of its past. It does feel different from other towns in Lincolnshire because of the diverse nature of the population, but it doesn't feel threatening, unsafe or in decline.

Boston, like many market towns around the country, experiences its fair share of crime and social issues. But it also has a strong identity and an overwhelming desire to continue to improve the quality of life for all who reside and work within Boston.

We have fantastic open spaces such as the Market Place and Central Park. We have the coast right on our doorstep and world-renowned wildlife conservation areas (The Wash). We have high quality local schools and, in Boston College, a seat of exemplary further education. We also benefit from one of the best climates in the British Isles.

So in answer to the question - "Boston a safe place to live and bring up your family?" I would say YES.

Boston is a town on the up with a proud history and a great future ahead. It does require further investment in local services but it is not the crime-ridden, back-water of Lincolnshire that has been portrayed in the past. It is a 21st Century market town in one of the most crime free areas of the UK, with great health, education and employment provisions and a growing, diverse population adding value to the local economy.