Lewisham Young People as Victims of Crime

This paper which went to Mayor and Cabinet a few weeks ago makes for very sobering reading:

Police statistics about reported crime suggest that recently young people from Lewisham have been more likely to be the victim of crime than young people from any other London borough other than Westminster.

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About Andrew Brown

I live in Lewisham, South East London, and spent 9 years as a Labour councillor in the borough between 1997 and 2006.
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14 Responses to Lewisham Young People as Victims of Crime

  1. Andrew Brown says:

    Yeah, not happy stuff.

  2. ross says:

    indeed

    one of the comments made on that report however got me thinking:-

    “More young people are effected by crime in Lewisham, Rushey Green and New
    Cross, which reflects the fact that these are areas where more young people live, study
    or travel”

    i did a quick comparison of the census information for rushey green, brockley and ladywell

    this says (amount in brackets being the number of people)

    up to 15 year old – rushey green (2,628), brockley (2,541), ladywell (2,465)

    up to 20 year old – rushey green (3,422), brockley (3,516), ladywell (3,166)

    up to 25 year old – rushey green (4,503), brockley (5,061), ladywell (4,261)

    now the reported cases were

    rushey green (282), brockley (150), ladywell (86)

    so rushey green has nearly double the amount of reported youth crime than brockley and this is being put down to rushey green having more young people living there, even though the stats show that up to the age of 20 years old brockley actually has more young people in it than rushey green

    likewise, rushey green has more than triple the amount of reported youth crime than ladywell and this is being put down to rushey green having more young people living there, even though the number of young people living in both rushey green & ladywell are only different by a few hundred (rushey green has about 10% more young people than ladywell, but over 300% more reported youth crime)

    fair enough this is just census information based on where people live, but i doubt that many people travel to rushey green to study or for nightlife

    any idea who wrote this report andrew, seems to be some fairly lax/lazy reasoning behind their logic on it

  3. Andrew Brown says:

    No idea who wrote the report Ross.

    But I suspect that it’s the study and travel part of the equation that may be most significant here.

    The hot spots seem to be where there are transport interchanges, particularly buses.

  4. Max says:

    Ross you’re spot on on this one.
    I don’t think that traveling or studying (apart from studying crime) are the central issues there, they are somehow significant but part of a mix and the social composition of those areas must be a major cause and it’s incredible that the report does not mention it.
    And, in all honesty, I suspect that this report not only has got the wrong reasons but also the wrong numbers.
    I cannot believe that Lewisham has higher youth crime than Lambeth for example, maybe here it’s reported more often because if in Lambeth if you dare speaking with the police they stab you.
    I’m an uncle of teenagers from Brixton and honestly, they need to send the army there.
    This doesn’t mean that here there isn’t a problem, only that this report is saying something that doesn’t look right to me.

  5. Andrew Brown says:

    I suspect we’re proving the old adage that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing by speculating without anywhere near the full facts available to us. However, I’m going to bow to your wider knowledge of South London Max…

  6. Max says:

    I’m blushing now.

  7. Reidski says:

    Can’t say anything about the stats and can’t say anything about any other place, but I can say that my 14-year-old son hates being out on the streets of Lewisham. He recently declared to his mum that he’ll “probably be stabbed” before he’s an adult. How fucking depressing to think that kids have that pessimistic and pissed-off view of the community in which they are trying to live!

  8. Lone Ranger says:

    Could Appendix 2, young people Not in Education Employment & Training be a clue?

    http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/26F0BD2E-0487-4EB7-8911-9F046275C1A3/0/Item3Appendix25March2008.pdf

    The report is in support of sources for funds to increase services for teenagers. Being a teenager is a 7 year phase but most of the the funding is for only 3 years and some for just 2 years.

  9. Andrew Brown says:

    Reidski, that’s really depressing. I’ve always thought of Lewisham as being a pretty safe place to live and go about in. Sure there have been occasions where you see it isn’t always like that, but I’ve rarely felt threatened personally. It must be different for young people, where according to this report “10% of boy’s aged 11 and 12 are reported to have carried a knife or other weapon in the previous year and 8% said they had attacked someone intending serious harm.”

    Lone Ranger, I can see that being NEET could make a young person vulnerable to all sorts of risks, including perhaps being a victim of crime, but the Home Office research on this suggests a wider set of risk factors; including: being male, living in a household with financial difficulties, living in an area where anti-social behaviour is common, having been expelled or truanted from school, having a poor relationship with parents, having friends that have been in trouble with the police, not being brought up by both natural parents, taking drugs, being drunk or being an offender.

  10. Max says:

    It is pretty depressing but that is the way most teenagers feel I’m afraid and it’s a big failure of society.

    I believe that this fear is often real but possibly just as often a self-fulfilling prophecy, like when at People’s day there are those stampedes of teenagers, usually the only reason they start running is that somebody started and then they all join in but by then the stampede has become a dangerous event in its own right even if there was no reason to start running in the first place.

    But this fear exists because of real situations, and the number of NEETs could be a fair indicator of real deprivation that translates in deep unease with society and then violent behaviours, and in places there’s so much of it that those behaviours shape the life of everybody and especially where gangs are involved then children are often left with the choice of either being a pure victim of youth crime or join a gang in the mistaken belief that this will shelter them from harm and there you have escalating violence and fear.
    A classic vicious cycle of reality shaping fear shaping reality…

  11. ross says:

    those figures for NEETS don’t exactly show much correlation with the reported crime figures for youths though (other than for the lewisham ward), although they will obviously be one factor amongst many feeding into it

    it’s a shame this report didn’t make any mention of the factors andrew quoted in the home office report as this would at least be a step in the right direction of getting to the source of the problem (although that report, like most others like it, seems to look upon the uncovering of reasons for being a victim of crime as the end point in the exercise, rather than the starting point), instead it’s glossed over with glib (and often incorrect) statements about relative population density/study/travel

    however even the stuff mentioned in the home office report seem a bit tautological, i.e. “living in an area where anti-social behaviour is common”

    so, ‘your more likely to be a victim of crime if you live in an area where you’re likely to be a victim of crime’

  12. Andrew Brown says:

    Ross, you should never under estimate a researcher’s ability to tell you something obvious.

  13. Kate says:

    My god this is pretty shocking, my eldest will be 14 next month and i dont let him out. He once went to a friends in surrey quays and once to blackheath and i dont stop panicking all the time he is out. He hasnt been attacked but he is a likely target as are all young boys on the street.

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