In today’s London, the fear of crime is far greater than the reported incidence. People hear stories from the press, from their friends and colleagues and increasingly online and on social media that frighten, disturb and alarm them. Our human tendency is to view these accounts as not only factual but also part of a wider pattern liable to bring down similar disaster on our heads or on the heads of those we love. In fact we live in a very safe city which is getting increasingly safe. The numbers of crimes reported goes down each year. Police and other authorities have improved their methods of assessing the level of crimes over decades now and the current approach to crime reporting and recording has become a very refined art.
In SE16 – as across the country – policing has now taken on a neighbourhood character, giving a Safer Neighbourhood Team to each ward. We have several teams covering the different wards of SE16 and their details can be found on the Metropolitan Police website. Find your team by scrolling down to the ward name. In the same place you will find the priorities for the area, set with the community every few months. You can find the crime statistics by month for your ward mapped onto the locations where they occurred at http://www.police.uk/metropolitan/. This is very useful to look at every so often as it provides a picture of the local crime incidents and so give you an idea of the things to be looking out for. If there is a hot spot – perhaps around a petrol or tube station – you can immediately see if the risk is heightened for theft or bicycle theft specifically.
Much of the week, our neighbourhood policing teams are out and about in the community, both on foot patrol and staffing enquiry points. For example, they attend regular drop-in surgeries at Canada Water Library on Wednesday and Thursday 7-8pm and on Saturday 2-3pm. We are also protected by the river and transport police. We have recently lost the local police station on Lower Road as a public contact point but the building is still being used as an office base for several local teams. Each team works to a set of three local priorities set at the Safer Neighbourhoods Policing ward panel and reviewed in public each meeting. For example the next Surrey Docks Ward Panel meeting is on 11 September at 19:00-21:00 at the Osprey Estate TRA Hall, Lower Road, SE16.
While we are here, the Met in South London is encouraging us all to be aware of the seasonal rise in burglary and to take precautions to prevent it wherever possible. Here is a list of their top tips:
- Mark or etch your property with your postcode, house or flat number or the first three letters of your house name.
- Register items with a serial number at: www.immobilise.com
- Do not leave your car keys or ID documents near doors, letterbox or windows.
- Always check who’s at the door and don’t open it if you feel anxious.
- Close and lock all your doors and windows, even if you are only going out for a few minutes.
- Keep your valuables out of sight.
- Leave some lights on if it will be dark before you get home.
- Install a visible burglar alarm.
- Always keep sheds and outbuildings locked.
- Cancel milk or other deliveries if you will be away for days or weeks at a time
Phone 101 for non-urgent matters but do use 999 to call for immediate assistance. Stay safe!