A resident's view of the crime problem in the passageway between Warple Way and Woodstock Road

Are you a mugger looking for a new patch? How about this? A narrow alleyway with conveniently situated bends offering near complete privacy from prying eyes. A convenient path onto an estate with numerous exits guaranteeing an anonymous departure from the scene of your crime. Or you might like operate immediately to the north in the secluded road (deserted car park on one side and high brick walls on the other) safe in the knowledge that even if your activities are noticed, a brisk 20 meter walk will take you into another police sector.

Not only is your impunity almost completely guaranteed. An abundance of potential victims is too! It's the ONLY route for them to take. They CAN'T avoid you! No alternative route. No surveillance. No risk (for you at least).

Perhaps you want to spread your activities a little further afield. The alleyway still offers a perfect escape route. Bordering on no less than THREE police sectors you only have to pass through and you've got away. They'll never catch you!

And don't worry that this little mugger's paradise will be spoiled either. It's got a borough boundary running smack down the middle of it! Why should any councilor want to waste money making improvements right on a neighbouring borough's border? In fifteen years all they've done is put in more streetlights. Well, actually they only got as far as putting the poles up, now they seem to have lost interest!

But, seriously . The alleyway in question, connecting Woodstock Rd to Warple Way, and its vicinity has seen some very unpleasant incidents in the last month. In one, a woman was punched and knocked to the ground. In the most recent, a disabled woman was robbed in her car by a group of youths.

I'm sure many residents will have noticed an increase in car crime. Recently one of my neighbour's cars was set on fire by youths trying to hot-wire it. There have also been numerous cases of women being groped by youths as they walk down the path.

There are other issues too. Litter (and worse) is also a problem and it is frequently used as a cut-through by motorcyclists and. Last night I saw two mothers with prams and toddlers nearly flattened by a Honda Gold Wing.

Unfortunately for local people the alleyway is the only major route between two large residential areas and a business park. Consequently there are a large number of people using it, many of them schoolchildren. It is intolerable that people should feel there are no-go or dangerous areas, let alone on an important thoroughfare where there is no alternative route for at least a half a mile to either side.

The boundary peculiarities have meant that bureaucracy has frustrated any attempt to remedy the situation. Local residents have been lobbying for improvements for at least the last fifteen years without success. Ealing's best effort to date has been to erect the lampless lampposts! Mind you, since the last three muggings have happened in broad daylight, it's not such a disappointment.

In my opinion the area needs CCTV (much as that goes against my libertarian views). The alleyway needs to be straightened and widened so that there are clear sight lines from one end to the other and barriers need to be erected to prevent motorcyclists from using it as a rat-run. Expensive measures, but necessary considering the numbers of people involved.

I suspect that this might be seen as an issue affecting only a small number of residents in the immediate locale. Not so. For a large number of pupils at Southfield School it is their only route to school. If you live or work in the Turnham Green area, odds on it's your local criminal's route to and, especially, from work.

A large number of workers on the Warple Way Business Park use Turnham Green tube to get to work. At least one of the companies on the estate has instructed employees to use Stamford Brook tube in preference to Turnham Green so as to avoid the alleyway. Other businesses are similarly concerned and likely to follow suite. Fewer passengers mean less business for local traders not to mention a negative impact on our local Piccadilly Line campaign (while we're discussing frustrating issues!).

There are an increasing number of locals, both residents and workers, who are very concerned about this problem. However there are not enough of us. We need your support. The issue has been raised with local MPs, Ann Keen and Clive Soley (thankfully there are only two parliamentary constituencies involved). If you are concerned, let them know directly.

Please have a look on the W4 discussion forum and LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS. That way the item stays high on the list of topics as well as giving us important feedback on local views.

David Juritz

This article was contributed by a member of the site - we welcome contributions from local people and are generally happy to publish them in full.

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