A BOURNEMOUTH street has been revealed as the sixth most violent in the country by a thinktank.
Fir Vale Road is home to Bournemouth’s biggest nightclub, Lava Ignite, and other clubs like Bliss and Walkabout are yards away on adjoining roads.
The figures come from UKCrimeStats, which carries out research for the Economic Policy Centre.
The statistics showed there were 203 violent crimes on or near Fir Vale Road between January, 2011 and November ,2011.
The country’s worst street was Albert Road South in Watford, another nightclubbing hotspot, which had 306 violent crimes.
UKCrimeStats said it analysed data partly from the new crime information website police.uk.
Dan Lewis, director of UkCrimeStats, said the data was not precise but he said the research enabled people to compare areas around the country.
Businesses operating in the area were unsurprised by the news.
Sunny Sharma, owner of the restaurant Ciao in Old Christchurch Road, said: “I can sum up this area in one word – disgusting.
“I could tell you some horrific stories about the things we see here. We are forever having to hand over our CCTV footage to the police.
“It’s got to the point now where I cannot leave a female here on her own at night. It’s not safe.
“We get reviews on Trip Advisor which praise our food but say this is the worst street in Bournemouth. They are intimidated by what’s going on outside – the yobs fighting, the police wagons.
“It’s a shame. When we opened eight years ago there were lots of nice restaurants here, now it is all kebab houses.”
And a taxi driver who works weekend nights in Bournemouth said: “It’s madness down here. The police are at full stretch and there is all sorts of nonsense going on.
“Over on the other side of town, people are that bit older and better behaved. All the trouble is concentrated in one spot.
“The students get a bad press but I don’t think they deserve it, generally they are well behaved. It’s the stag and hen parties I think that cause most of the trouble.”
Bournemouth Council has longstanding concerns about night-time violence and the image it gives Bournemouth.
Cllr Dave Smith, cabinet member for communities, recently ordered a review of the night time economy.
He said: “Nearly all the violent crime referred to in this research occurs between midnight and 6am as a result of excess drinking.
“Bournemouth is generally safe but the problems associated with the night time and economy and excessive drinking need to be addressed.”
The council is considering using Early Morning Restriction Orders, which can stop the sale of alcohol during the early hours, to stagger closing times in different areas of the town.
A Dorset Police spokesperson said: “We continue to work hard with our partners to reduce crime in Bournemouth town centre and there has been a 9.3 per cent reduction so far this year.
“A large number of crimes that take place in Fir Vale Road are alcohol related. We use taxi marshals in the town centre and we deliver hard-hitting training to licensed premises to make them aware of action they can take.”
Jon Shipp, Bournemouth’s night-time economy co-ordinator, said: “According to the latest police statistics we know that the numbers of violent crime incidents taking place in Bournemouth town centre are falling and has continued to do so over the last two years. We are all committed to reducing the numbers of incidents further.
“The Bournemouth By Night study that was recently commissioned will also play an important part in the process of developing Bournemouth’s nightlife.”
Fir Vale Road: violent crime figures
UkCrimeStats measured the amount of violent crimes, which include public order offences and a variety of other offences.
These are Dorset Police records of cases of assault and actual bodily harm on Fir Vale Road.