Saturday, September 4, 2010

Daylight Robbery

I regret to report that there was a mugging on the Ha'Penny Hatch yesterday in broad daylight. I don't want to sound like the South London Press, but I thought people should know that they need to be a little more aware of the risks in our area.

There are now two very recent cases of muggings in the daytime hours that I am aware of. Not an epidemic, but nevertheless worrying because they happened in broad daylight.

Today two women pushing buggies across the Hatch footbridge around lunchtime were attacked from behind – two young black men grabbed their necks and tore off the gold chains they were wearing and scarpered. I bumped into one of the TWO witnesses to this crime but unfortunately didn't have time to get more details. The fact that this took place in front of other people makes it more worrying. These young men obviously do not give a **** whether anyone sees them or even identifies them.

Less than a month ago I was chatting with a neighbour, opposite Faircharm Trading Estate, in the afternoon. We suddenly heard a lot of arguing and went over to the road to find out what was happening. A bloke had been walking down Creekside talking on the phone. A young black boy on a bike had whizzed past and snatched the phone out of his hand. The guy's reactions were fast – he had lashed out and knocked the boy off his bike. They were now fighting in the middle of the road over the ownership of the phone, with the boy denying he had it. The fight went on so long that there were FOUR witnesses. Eventually the guy got his phone back and the boy picked up his bike and sped off. We asked the bloke if he wanted us as witnesses if he called the police, but he said no, he had his phone back, it wasn't worth the bother.

Meanwhile, about three weeks ago, a friend tells me he was strolling across the Ha'Penny Hatch and saw a couple of men wearing ski masks disabling a moped's security lock with some bolt cutters, in the middle of the bridge. Pretty sure there was a theft involved and once safely on Creekside, he called the police. The police exchange was unable to locate the Ha'Penny Hatch and wanted the postcode. My friend was unable to give it (and if you Google the bridge you'll find it doesn't have a postcode). He waited around the area for a while, called the police again, but realised he was not going to get anyone to come because the crime desk didn't have a postcode. This was a Sunday afternoon, again, broad daylight.

Marmoset has recently reported seeing an expensive bike parked in Greenwich High Road (just beyond the Hatch) and stripped of its most expensive parts. He concluded the thieves know what they are looking for and any locks presented no problem.

Last year and the year before, the targets have been petite young women late at night – to my knowledge, only two – but both were attacked on the estate next to Holden by young black men or boys who used the nooks and crannies of overgrown hedges and our beautiful Victorian railway arches to hide and pounce in the darkness. As far as I know there were no prosecutions. But the hedges got cut.

There have been incidents on Creekside next to the junction with the Ha'Penny Hatch that have been a great cause for concern over the past few years, at dusk and at night. Laban students and employees were most worried, but the Laban did not respond to Crossfields TRA's invitation to hold a public meeting about the poor lighting in the area and the TRA didn't follow it up either. But the TRA hardly has the same sort of resources and clout as the Laban Centre possibly has. We were suggesting there might be CCTV installed on Creekside around the Ha'Penny Hatch approach (and not on the estate as was being suggested by the Laban employee and estate resident who had recently been a victim)...

However, now it seems it doesn't even have to be dark for some opportunistic crime to take place.

As someone who is frequently in the area during the day as well as night, I have to say I have not seen a Safer Neighbourhood warden or constable all year until the day before yesterday when there was one sitting on a bench near the Nature Park (he asked if I was lost). I did see a couple of Safer Neighbourhood constables in Deptford High Street around a month ago and told them about the Creekside phone mugging, but they were from Evelyn Ward and told me to call their colleagues in New Cross (Gate).

I, for one, do not have the time to get a campaign going, but I suspect that maybe this is what is required, in order for it to be recognised how vulnerable the area is. Write to Joan Ruddock, your councillors, etc. etc... Another friend, on hearing the latest news, suggested cameras on the Hatch as a deterrent...even if they didn't have any film in them...yeah, right, these guys don't care who sees them...

The police haven't specifically told us or reminded us that 'Thieves are targeting your area' but it appears they are. Do not panic, but please be more aware of your surroundings...
Don't let it inhibit your actions and enjoyment of life, but adjust/modify/alter/change your Risk Assessment.

No comments:

Post a Comment