OpinioN8

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Hi. I witnessed a phone theft on Park Road Sunday evening around 6pm, roughly opposite the cricket club. 2 men on a scooter were careering down the road, overtook me in a dangerous manner, performed a U-turn, mounted the pavement and grabbed a woman's phone. I gave all my details etc. as a witness. About 30 minutes later I passed them again on central Crouch End. So it looked to me as though they were cruising round doing it again and again without impunity. Be aware.

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I think it would be a very simple and cheap thing to do just to put up some posters along vulnerable roads like Park Road to warn people of the threat. I think most people would assume these things are sporadic. What I have seen (anecdotally) is that it is actually rife.

This is a problem that needs sorting - the phone thieves are also riding on stolen bikes so there is quite a lot of crime for our bobbies to sort out.  However I have noticed that there seems to be a fashion for people to hold their phones away from their heads, either looking at an app, or often speaking on the speaker phone or, as I saw this afternoon, using the video phone function - this is like holding your phone out to be snatched.  If you hold the phone with your fingers firmly over the top of the phone I'd guess it would be more difficult for these thieves to see it in the first place and less likely that they can snatch it from your hand travelling at speed.  In any event I suspect the police know who is involved in this crime wave but, for whatever reason, can't make charges stick...

This sounds like victim blaming to me. People have a right to walk around in broad daylight without the risk of being mugged. Like it or not, mobiles have replaced pretty much everything in our lives- bank cards, maps, etc. Its not realistic to keep  your mobile in your pocket whenever you're outside. And pedestrians most certainly have a right to walk around without the risk of being run down by dangerous drivers. A bigger police presence on the streets would deter these criminals - there has been numerous studies that show this. It certainly helped in The City.

I'm not saying put it in your pocket I'm saying hold it firmly in your hand with your fingers firmly over the top - holding it out parallel to your body like it is some sort of offering is perhaps why so many get stolen - be sensible...

These thieves are not going to stop - they're just going to become more aggressive. The police need to start taking action before someone gets seriously hurt. These crimes are happening in broad daylight with lot's of witnesses; how difficult can it be to catch them? 

These thieves seem to be part of the street scene now, like the Big Issue seller and the accordionists, This snap of them fromFacebook

Very similar to the ones I saw. Not the same scooter though. The one I saw was a three wheeler. Obviously they use stolen scooters and dump them pretty quickly. So who knows. Seems like it is quite commonplace in Crouch End. People need to be made more aware.

And Miranda from Muddy Boots has posted a series of pictures from her CCTV of this alleged shop lifter (the tall man in the foreground). I had my motor bike insurance refused this month, because I do not keep it in a brick built garage, and theft is rife in London. A couple of times recently the cover has been removed overnight , probably a thief sizing it up. There is a lot of it going on.

I met up with PC Chris Allen from the CE SNT today. He's still relatively new to the area but, as an ex Muswell Hill resident, knows it quite well.

A bit of background: when the SNTs were set up in the early 2000s there were six people allocated to each ward: a sergeant, two PC and three PCSOs. Things are a lot different now: Chris is one of two who are permanently assigned to CE although other resources can be called in on a project basis. As Ella has rightly pointed out, this is a reflection of how the cuts affect services on the ground.

Like the rest of us he want these thefts to stop. Clearly there are big resource problems and catching the kids is not easy. A high speed chase is not only dangerous for the pursuing and the persued, but also for other road users and pedestrians. 

Phone theft is the third priority crime in the Met and the operation against it is intelligence led so it is absolutely fundamental to success that any information about these thefts finds its way to the Met.

On Sunday, I bumped into the victim of the crime that I mentioned on this string last Tuesday week: we chatted, I sympathized but was astonished when he told me that he hadn't reported it yet. The allocation of resources to particular crimes is based largely on the volume reported: if it ain't reported, it hasn't happened.

So ...

  • If you are the victim or witness a crime happening ring 999 at once.
  • If you see suspicious activity (kids cruising up the same perhaps) area ring 101 as soon as you can.

Also, I strongly recommend that if you are affected in any way and are concerned about this sort of crime - email your local Councillors. They can request higher level meetings to  demand resources and action. It is important to keep the pressure up. Having a moan on social media helps but it is better to contact decision makers and influencers.

Chris is planning a meeting (hopefully in HTH) to explain what they are doing to tackle this and to listen to the experiences and ideas of locals.

Watch this space.

David

A recent moped mugging, thankfully not in Crouch End:

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/heavily-pregnant-woman-knocked...

Like I said, these thieves are getting more aggressive.

As someone who gets lot's of work texts and calls that my manager likes me to respond to asap, I really resent the fact that I now have to be extra cautious when using my phone. I'm also concerned these thieves are going to start going after people's jewellery and handbags. I've stopped wearing my engagement ring just to be on the safe side and again, I really resent this. I pay taxes and I deserve to feel safe in my neighbourhood - understaffed or not, our police force needs to step it up. 

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