Community and Environment

The Devon Strategic Assessment describes crime and community safety issues for Devon. Overall there has been a reduction in crime across Devon, although there is variation between different crimes. There has been an increase in arson, domestic abuse, violence against a person, other thefts, shoplifting and hate crime. There has been a reduction in anti-social behaviour, criminal damage, vehicle crime, non-dwelling burglary, dwelling burglary, sexual offences and robbery. Natural Devon, the Devon Local Nature Partnership, was established in 2012 to protect and improve Devon’s natural environment, to grow Devon’s green economy and to reconnect Devon’s people with nature. A ‘State of the Environment’ report was published in 2014 describing the current condition of the environment. Poor air quality can have a negative impact on health, and whilst mortality attributable to air pollution is below the South West and England average, a number of Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) exist where air quality is actively monitored. Whilst measures of social connectedness highlight that almost half of the people receiving care services in Devon have as much social contact as they would like. Housing conditions can have an adverse impact on health. The affordability of housing in Devon is also an issue on account of relatively high house prices and relatively low wages. Levels of homelessness in the county are relatively high, and are associated with a range of physical and mental health problems. As a large, predominantly rural county, there are additional challenges in Devon in terms of access to health and care services. Social interaction and social support play an important part in our health and wellbeing. Issues such as isolation, loneliness and mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression can influence physical health and reduced life expectancy is linked to chronic mental health problems such as schizophrenia.