Crime is an issue that concerns many around my little patch of South London. Not wanting to sound like Nick Ross, but it’s usually a fear of crime, rather than crime per se, that is often the real threat.
Our friends over at Stand Up For Stockwell have published their response today – a video which looks at the Conservative party’s national policy on crime, rather than addressing the real issues on the ground here in Stockwell.
I’ve managed to have a look at a presentation delivered by the Safer Lambeth Partnership, an organisation that includes the council, police force, probation service, health agencies and other organisations who work together to deliver the Community Safety Strategy.
The data presented was used to assist the Police Tasking and Coordination meeting in the allocation of resources to help reduce crime in Lambeth over a two-week period in February.
It must be emphasised that all data relates to only reported crime. This is often distorted, with bizarre policies such as having to report the disappearance of a wheelie bin as theft.
But hopefully by looking at some of the micro level crime taking place around here right now, it will offer a more positive response to crime in Stockwell than simply posting up a fear of crime video.
The Burglary Performance is steady around my area. The Oval and Larkhall wards both report a rise of one. Stockwell shows a decrease of two, showing that the figures are more or less stable over the previous period. Ferndale and Tulse Hill have been highlighted as priority locations.
The recommendations are for Lambeth Living to identify vulnerable homes. This is an issue that the @LambethLabour #labourdoorstep team have been electioneering with over on the Bolney Meadow estate area of late. I’m still not sure why a party in power has to organise a petition to get security grills placed on council owned stock. I’m not alone, either.
Speaking of door knockers… My personal policy is to never answer the door unless I am expecting someone at my home. This may mean that I don’t get to engage with the good local door knocking politicians; it also means that I am unlikely to be taken in by the many chancers that come door knocking with their tales of endless woe.
As the presentation identifies, door knocking is also used as a tactic to assess if a property is empty or not. I usually get around this concern by playing rather loud music.
It’s incredibly depressing that I can’t feel safe to open my door to strangers. The constant tales of needing bus fare to visit a sick relative, or a girlfriend about to give birth, sadly means that community around here has been reduced to living behind a bolted door.
I feel very uneasy about the deployment of mobile CCTV as a safeguard. I feel equally uneasy about the current fear of crime. It’s a tough balancing act, and one that is hard to equate. Possibly the timely call for a higher policing presence on the streets is a solution?
On a micro local level and it seems that CCTV is being employed to tackle “night time economy issues.” This is a euphemism for binge drinking and drug dealing around Clapham High Street.
The presentation includes details of the new Antisocial Behaviour Reporting Line. This is a brilliant move, especially so around the Police Dispersal Zone in SW8. I hope the phone line has more success in curtailing ASB than my recent efforts in approaching three officers to deal with Mad Rupert of SW8.
Sticking with ASB and I was rather shocked to see that Larkhall suffers from the highest level of substance abuse in the borough. Twenty calls relating to substance misuse were made in the Larkhall ward during the two-week period.
This is a figure higher than areas such as Brixton Hill (17) and Coldharbour (7) where blatant drug dealing is seen as the norm. I wonder why the figure is so high for Larkhall? My only thought is that Larkhall Park becomes something of drug dealing hotspot once the evening falls.
The presentation concludes by stating that the Partnership Action Team will be deployed at the weekend around Clapham. This is once again related to the nighttime economy.
There is nothing new in the presentation to suggest that crime around my little patch of South London is running at a level that I wasn’t previously aware of. It’s not a positive news story, but at least it is being addressed.