Safety in Shawlands

Glasgow city council plans to make Shawlands Cross the 'heart of the southside'.
Glasgow city council plans to make Shawlands Cross the 'heart of the southside'.

SHAWLANDS is a safe place to live, according to a poll of Extra readers.

This week, we asked our Facebook followers and visitors to the Extra website to answer yes or no to the question: is Shawlands a safe place to live?

Despite a spate of individual crimes reported in the area in the last few months, the results show 72 per cent of respondents have never encountered problems, compared with 28 per cent who said they had felt threatened or experienced problems recently.

Echoing the positive response is Andrew Montgomery, chair of Shawlands and Strathbungo community council.

A resident for over 20 years, he told The Extra: “There are incidences which concern people, but I think by and large, it’s a safe place to go out, and there is certainly a visible police presence in Shawlands at the weekends”.

CCTV cameras were installed by Glasgow city council in November last year, sited at Shawlands Cross and the junction of Minard Road and Pollokshaws Road to a cost of £50,000.

The aim of improved surveillance was for police to crack down on anti-social behaviour, particularly on weekends when restaurants, clubs and pubs attract crowds to Shawlands.

The Pollokshields community police team — which covers most of Shawlands, north of Kilmarnock Road — lists drunk and disorderly behaviour and assault and violent crime as top priorities for action following a recent consultation of residents.

Mr Montgomery continued: “I think more officers on the beat and walking Shawlands, combined with the new CCTV cameras are positive improvements.

“The only thing that potentially could be done would be to improve the street lighting, as the arcade side of Kilmarnock Road has very little street lighting, and it’s darker than you would expect”.

As for the statistics, Strathclyde police figures from last year show the Pollokshields area with less instances of crime than surrounding southside communities.

In 2010/11, the area recorded 240 instances of breach of the peace, 302 minor assaults and 20 serious assaults. There were two murders, and one attempted murder.

In comparison, Langside – the more residential area to the south of Kilmarnock Road – had 362 instances of breach of the peace, 332 minor assaults and 18 serious assaults.

Moving east to Southside Central, breach of the peace figures rose to 818, and a total of 900 minor assaults and 70 serious assaults were reported.

For Shawlands and Strathbungo community council, now is “the start of a high point”, as news of the Shawlands town centre action plan is expected within the next month – and could see a £3.3 million plan to improve the area further approved by Glasgow city council.