Surge in Robberies in Chiswick Continues Unabated
Incidents have doubled in some local wards over last year
The latest figures from the Metropolitan Police show that the increase in robberies in the Chiswick area is continuing. The data has confirmed the impression of many local people that crime is escalating in the area.
Last August we reported on a significant rise in robberies as well as burglaries and violent crime as shown by the figures published for individual wards up to the second half of last year. The most recent data shows that, if anything, increase in the number of these sort of offences has accelerated.
Crime overall is up in all four wards covering the Chiswick area but the most marked increase is in robberies which have more than doubled in two wards in the 12 months to January.
Chiswick Homefields ward saw the number of robberies rise by 214.3% with 92 cases during the year. Chiswick Riverside saw an increase of 122.2% to 32 cases and Turnham Green, which contains the Rocks Lane sport centre, saw an increase of 58.8% to 90 incidents.
It is believed that a significant proportion of these crimes are moped enabled with the perpetrators either using a motorcycle in the commission of the robbery or as a getaway vehicle. This type of crime is being targeted by the Met through Operation Venice and they have achieved a reduction of the number of moped robberies across London. However, it is believed that having focused initially on boroughs such as Camden and Islington where the problem was most severe, this type of crime is being displaced to other boroughs such as Hounslow where there was over a thousand robberies over the last year. A gang that operated in the Camden and Islington areas were recently convicted and given lengthy jail sentences.
In response to public concern, Operation Lindhouse has been set up by the West Area Basic Command Unit to tackle robberies on school children and other violent crime in Chiswick. Police say they have mounted a number of extra patrols - drafting more officers into the area to conduct targeted stop and searches, where sufficient grounds exist.
The operation has included officers from the Violent Crime Taskforce, Operation Wolverine and Chiswick Safer Neighbourhood Teams. They say they have been conducting high visibility patrols on both sides of the High Road, Chiswick Common and Turnham Green Terrace, carrying out weapon sweeps throughout the area. This has led to a number of dangerous weapons to be taken off the streets.
There have been a number of arrests for robbery and those in possession of weapons. Work is underway to ban these individuals from entering the Chiswick area. Schools officers are continuing to deliver presentations and educational sessions on knife crime.
The local neighbourhood team have been working with partners from the council and local businesses to target hot spot areas. There is now a community safety camera installed in Chiswick Common and maintenance carried out by the Parks team to cut back vegetation to discourage large groups from congregating.
The National Crime Agency have said that the surge in violent crime in London is in part down to the activity of drugs gangs and it is believed that other types of offences like burglary and robbery are often linked to the operations of drugs gangs.
Earlier this month the police issue a Section 60 notice covering much of the Chiswick area. This gave them enhanced stop and search powers and was in place for two days on 6 and 7 March. It is believed that the order was requested due to intelligence that suggested there was an increased risk of gang related violence. On 7 March a 17-year-old boy from White City, Ayub Hassan was stabbed in West Kensington. Subsequently police have issued Section 60 notices for areas in the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham.
Police instituted dispersal zones in both Turnham Green and Homefields wards in January in response to the increase in robberies in the area. These allow them to order anyone they believe to be intent on criminal activity, to leave the area. The dispersal zones, which are active for 48 hours before having to be renewed.
Chiswick Homefields saw the biggest crime rise overall over the last year with a 17.7% increase. As well as the surge in the number of robberies there was a 26.8% increase in burglaries and a 13.3% rise in incidents of violence against the person.
In Turnham Green ward overall crime was up by 8.7% over the last year with burglaries increasing by 48.1%. Violence against the person fell by 0.9%. Crime in Chiswick Riverside ward was up by 9.2% with violence against the person up by 26.1% and burglaries up by 22.6% although this remains overall a low crime area.
Southfield ward, which includes the part of Chiswick in the London Borough of Ealing saw crime up by 4.1% although it did see a drop in the number of robberies of 15.2%
Three quarters of the Chiswick residents who responded to a survey on policing were not confident that the police can protect them from crime, and the majority (87%) felt that their area will be a worse place to live in the next twelve months. Respondents overwhelmingly believed (95%) that police patrolling in their area would prevent crime. Many local residents believe the increase in crime seen in the area over the last year is linked to the closure of the police station on Chiswick High Road.
Local residents can also subscribe to the OWL service to get information on crime and how to report it. OWL is a shared, secure platform for the public and local authorities to maximise the potential of NW and dozens of other schemes.
A meeting on the future of policing in Chiswick has been confirmed for 28 March at Chiswick Town Hall. Doors open 7.30 pm. The meeting is a follow up to that held in December, organised by the nine local councillors.
March 11, 2019