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Wednesday, 18 September, 2002, 06:15 GMT 07:15 UK
Poll reveals parents' crime fears
A large majority of parents in Northern Ireland fear for the safety of their children, according to an opinion poll commissioned for BBC's Cracking Crime Day.

The poll also suggests that three quarters of the Catholic population support the recent police reforms, but less than half of Protestants do so.

The poll, carried out in the last week, asked more than 500 Northern Ireland people for their opinions on crime and policing in the province.

Among other key indications from the poll by ICM, are that 63% of those polled believe crime has gone up over the past five years, 39% think CCTV would make them feel safer on the streets and 75% have no confidence in the police catching criminals involved in car theft or burglary.

Fears over children's safety are reflected in answers to the question: "If your child were to go for a walk in your area on their own after dark, how worried would you be that you might become the victim of a street crime?"

Eighty-five percent of respondents said they would be worried, rising to 87% among mothers.

In a section on support for Northern Ireland policing reforms in the past two years, 55% of all respondents gave their support, with 75% of Catholics and 43% of Protestants giving their backing.

Thirty-nine per cent of Protestants opposed the package, with just 12% of Catholics questioned declaring opposition.

The poll findings indicate a lack of confidence in the Police Service of Northern Ireland's ability to tackle crime and points raised from it will be among those put to new Chief Constable Hugh Orde when he takes questions in a special BBC One Northern Ireland programme on Wednesday night.

Mr Orde will reply to issues raised by members of an invited audience made up of victims of crimes, ranging from car theft to muggings.

It will be his first face-to-face encounter with members of the Northern Ireland public.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's Julian O'Neill:
"An overwhelming majority of parents fear their children could be victims of a street crime if allowed out after dark"
BBC NI's Maggie Swarbrick:
"Of those questioned 63% thought crime had gone up over the past five years"

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17 Sep 02 | N Ireland
16 Sep 02 | N Ireland
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