Mystery surrounding East Lindsey's crime stats that has experts confused

Police, councillors, analysts and university crime specialists are puzzling over East Lindsey’s unusual level of crime – or the lack of it, to be exact.

East Lindsey's crime statistics have baffled experts.
East Lindsey's crime statistics have baffled experts.

Across the country, it is a rule that poorer areas have higher crime rates, while more well-off areas enjoy lower levels.

However, East Lindsey – classed as one of the most deprived areas of the country – breaks that trend by mysteriously having very low rates of offending.

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Since the phenomenon was uncovered, it has been discussed by police chiefs, crime experts and council bosses, who all have their own explanation for it.

East Lindsey is the 42nd most deprived area of the country, according to government metrics that take into account factors like income, employment, health, housing and education.

That should mean it experiences pretty high crime problems – yet in actual fact it ranks 247 from bottom, putting it in the top quarter.

This is the biggest gap seen anywhere in the country, according to the research by criminal justice think-tank Crest Advisory.

So what is behind the unusually peaceful life in this region?

Analyst Ellen Kirk, who wrote the study, suggests it could be down to community, something which is hard to measure compared to simple crime statistics.

“Perhaps the people of East Lindsey have a tightly-knit community which helps keep theft down. Perhaps a strong sense of civic pride means people in East Lindsey are less likely to commit criminal damage. Perhaps there is a wide variety of community groups in East Lindsey where people can build positive relationships with each other – leading to a reduction in violence,” she suggests.

But this is not the only answer.

East Lindsey District Council leader Craig Leyland put forward the idea of “internal migration” – meaning the exodus of younger people from the area, and the influx of older, generally more law-abiding, residents.

Coastal holiday parks can be attractive as retirement areas, and older populations tend to see lower crime, he explains.

He added: “Seasonality of the coastal economy is another factor that sits alongside as well as the provision of skills.”

Assistant Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police Chris Davison – perhaps unsurprisingly – put the absence down to “ruthless efficient police work”.

However, that does not explain why other parts of Lincolnshire are more in line with the national average.

Gavin Hales, a crime researcher at London Metropolitan University, said the unusually low record might be an “alarm bell”.

He questioned whether people were reluctant to report crimes to police.

There is no definitive answer to this – or even whether it is a good thing or not.

Whether you think it is tight community bonds, effective policing or an ageing population, East Lindsey stands out from the crowd.