By Haleema Saheed
Latest statistics from October 2019 show a rise in the number of violent and gun-related crimes in Batley and surrounding areas, affecting the safety of children and citizens.
From November 2018 to October 2019, there has been a 32.23 per cent rise in the number of violent crimes, with over 4,792 incidents reported.
According to the figures published by West Yorkshire Police, 355 crimes were reported in October, with 122 of these classified as violent.
Local travel agent Naveed Sharif said: “This is scary because you never know what could happen, or how safe you actually are in your own home town.
“There is the fear that someone could walk into the office and do something as we have an open-door policy to bring in customers.”
A total of six crimes were reported regarding possession of weapons and drugs, the statistics from October 2019 show.
Schools are now highlighting the dangers of gun and knife crime to children from the ages of 10-11.
Kadijah Karolia, a junior school teacher, said: “I think schools are doing enough in terms of raising awareness as we have someone come in each year to talk about gun crime as it is a rising issue.
“The man delivering the talk was an ex-police officer, now a youth rehabilitation officer, working closely with young teenage boys who had served sentences or were guilty of crimes.
“Most children from the age of seven are aware of gun crime, but the school targets 10-11-year olds as they feel it is not appropriate for anyone younger.”
As schools try to tackle the issue of gun crime from an early age, parents fear for the safety of their children.
Local resident, Sabia Bibi, 29, who is the parent of a young child, said: “When I was young, I would walk to school with my friends and there was no issue, but now as a parent, I wouldn’t let my child walk to school alone or with friends, because you just don’t know what could happen.
“More work needs to be done to ensure the safety of children in this area and across the UK as gun crime and violent attacks are becoming quite frequent.”
West Yorkshire Police were contacted by the Yorkshire Voice but have so far not responded.