The Plunington area of Preston is often described as a notorious place to live. There are Pubs and takeaways littered with gloom and depression, and distasteful looks on the faces of passersby. There is also a main street that runs through the area and stretches for more than half a mile and walking said street can seem to take an age.
Up until October this year, 1022 crimes had been reported in the area, more than 100 of which were violence or drug related.
Last Monday (December 8), a 29-year-old woman was almost robbed at knife point on Rippon Street.
With hundreds of students living in the area, I decided to look into whether they feel it really is dangerous.
A quick poll (of which 75 students answered) found that 80% don’t feel safe in Plungington.
One student said: “The streets aren’t very well lit and there is a lack of police authority within the area. It is no wonder that a mugging has occurred [referring to the incident on Rippon Street].”
The area’s infamy may only increase with the news of this particular attack. To describe the situation in more detail: The woman was walking home from a grocery store when she was stopped by two men demanding for her handbag. After refusing, she was wrestled to the ground and threatened with a knife. The woman was found in a distressed state and had sustained cuts to her face, arms and legs.
“This was a vicious and nasty attack on a young woman and we would urge anyone with any information at all to please come forward.” Said DC Steve Gilmore of Preston CID, “We are particularly keen to talk to the man who ran over and managed to scare off the attackers and we would encourage him to come forward”.
Lancashire Constabulary are now urging witnesses to come forward to give information of the attack or if anyone has any information regarding the offenders.
A female UCLan student told us of her story of being mugged earlier this year in Plunginton. She was leaving the local Co-Operative store on Plungington, when her phone was grabbed instantly out of her grip by a man dressed all in black with a hood.
She said: “As I left the store I heard a steady run behind me and before I knew it a man in a hood grabbed my phone and ran off. I have never been so annoyed in my life.”
The area itself contains row after row of working class terraced housing and contains remnants of unsuccessful bordered up shops that makes you a passer by ask, have things really got this bad?
A UCLan alumni disagrees. Jack Barron has lived in Plungington for over 2 years, and says people who think the area is unsafe are overreacting.
“So much hype created amongst the student community about how unsafe Preston is.
“This is either a) because you have come from a priveledged background and leafy village where everyone farts fairy dust and you do morris dancing or b) it’s because it’s unfamiliar ground and you are listening to the hype.
“it’s [Plungington] like anywhere. It has its bad apples but generally the people are sound and friendly. People just assume because it isnt middle class and people don’t have porches that it’s unsafe.
“If anything, the only reason there is a high number of burglaries in Plungey is because of the student population, they attract it.”
The incident on Rippon Street is thought provoking and maybe even worrying and should not be written off as a ‘one-off’. However, if one steps back and looks at the broader view, crimes such as muggings and thefts do occur everywhere, there’s no doubt about that.
It seems that if a crime occurs within an area such as Plunington, then people feel the need to ‘jump on the band wagon’ of it being a dangerous place to live. It could be argued that maybe an area such as Plungington could do with more surveillance by police officers because the area does have a high crime rate, but I feel that is all the area needs because the crimes committed are arguably only petty.
What should be highlighted overall is that there is no need to panic. Students at UCLan just need to take more care not just in the Plungington area, but areas all over Preston. An increase of awareness of a surrounding area should be noted and to be more cautious when walking down not very well lit streets.