VIOLENT crime in Southend has increased by 39 per cent in a year, the latest figures have revealed.

The data, which came out as part of a Freedom of Information request supplied to the Echo, showed overall crime in the borough has also increased by 25 per cent in just 12 months.

Braintree and Witham Times:

Police scenes - campaigners fear images like this are becoming too frequent

The disturbing figures may not be a surprise to the many families who have raised fears for their safety in the borough.

Among the most high profile crimes were four deaths between April 2018 and March 2019.

19-year-old Fabian Kacica was stabbed to death near the Forum library by two thugs who wanted to steal his car.

Joe Paffey, of Old Southend Road, Southend, was convicted of his murder is currently serving a life sentence while his accomplice Aidon Pearce, of Treecot Drive, Leigh, was handed 11 years in prison for manslaughter.

Other deaths included in this statistic include the killings of Courtney Valentine-Brown, Christy Walshe and June Knight all of which are still going through the courts system.

In total an extra four thousand crimes were committed with 2,159 more violent crimes with violence with injury offences increasing by 10 per cent or an additional 197 offences.

The new statistics are moving Southend closer to having someone become the victim of a violent crime every hour of every day.

The figures come days after Essex Police announced they had received an additional £1.5 million in funding to tackle violent crime across the county.

The funding was allocated to Essex by the Home Office after the force made a bid during a meeting with the Home Secretary and senior officers from police forces across the country.

Last week, Asst Chief Con Paul Wells announced the money would be used to support activity in “identified violent crime hotspots” as well as targeting habitual knife carriers and acting on community intelligence.

Robbery, which includes of people and businesses, has also increased by 23 per cent more being recorded in the same 12-month period while hate crimes have increased by 22 per cent.

Domestic abuse, which is not included in the violent crime statistics, has increased by 43 per cent.

And while the rate of crime is rising the amount being “solved” as fallen.

Essex Police claim 15.3 per cent of violent crimes were “solved” in the past 12 months compared to 18.2 per cent in the previous 12 months.

But in reality the number is far less as the force classes a crime as “solved” when someone is charged, instead of when convicted.

So while there are four homicides listed as “solved” there have only been convictions in one so far.

Essex Police's response

SOUTHEND’S district commander has claimed the massive rise in violent crime is due to the inclusion of record rates of stalking and harassment after changes made by the Home Office.

Chief Insp Neil Pudney said this makes up a third of the violent offences recorded.

He said: “Southend has seen an increase in crime, which is line with the countywide and nationwide picture.

“Violence with an injury crime has increased by 10 per cent over the year and I appreciate that people may have their concerns.

“Nearly a third of these crimes were domestic in nature and behind closed doors and it’s encouraging that victims of domestic abuse have the confidence to report their crimes to us, in what has been traditionally an under reported area.

“The statistics show that in Southend we solved 389 more offences over the same period, with 362 victims based crimes solved - an increase of 19.5 per cent.

“Violence with injury crime during the night time economy hours dropped by 21.5 per cent.

“Since March 2018 we launched our Town Centre Team, who remain dedicated in tackling violent crime through stop and searches, knife arches, partnership working and warrants.

“Officers on Southend’s new Proactive Team have made over 200 arrests in just a number of months and their hard work is complimented by the efforts of Op Raptor, who deal with violence, county lines and drug related crime.

“In a year period we found 74 more people in possession of drugs, an increase of over 20 per cent. This has only been made possible through proactive policing.

“This year Southend once again secured the Purple Flag status after a team of independent assessors recognised the town centre as having a safe, welcoming and vibrant night time experience.

“Essex Police is recruiting an additional 150 officers in 2018/19 and we are set to receive a further 215 in 2019/20, many of which are already in place and patrolling the county, keeping people safe.

“I am pleased to say six officers are already in place within Southend CPT and we are in the process of bidding for additional officers as part of the 2019/20 precept increase.

“All our frontline officers have been issued with smart mobile devices which allows them to access live time CCTV footage from across the district. By establishing the SBC Community Safety Team last year, we have seen a multi-agency approach to many incidents.

“Violent crime is a complex issue and it’s deep rooted. It is not something we will be able to arrest our way out of. It requires the police, the public and partners to work together to keep our communities safe.

“I have experienced that violent crime in Southend tends to be is isolated and targeted, where victim and the offender know each other. We are not seeing violent disorder on our streets and I want to reassure the community that Southend is a safe place to live, work and visit.

“Southend Council launched it’s ‘See The Signs’ campaign to raise awareness to parents about child exploitation and our approach is in line with the Government’s Violent Crime Strategy, which is around early invention, diversion and enforcement.

“I would urge people to continue to report information to us, either on 101 on a non-emergency or 999 in an emergency.

"You can also report information online by visiting or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”