And this too shall pass...
On Friday, Brockley Cross was closed due to a shooting incident outside Tickle Me takeaway. Yesterday, much of the area around Brockley Station and Foxberry Road was taped-off due to a second shooting, confirmed by Cllr Walton, who spoke with the police Safer Neighbourhoods Team today.
Mercifully, neither incident was fatal, but any incident involving guns must be considered extremely serious. It's important not to overstate the incidence of crime, even in the face of two such cases, but clearly they must prompt a review of policy in the area and local people need to be reassured that the authorities have a plan. At the moment, as a quick search of Twitter or a scan through the comment pages of this blog will reveal, people in Brockley are well-aware of the problems, but they are not hearing solutions.
When the anti-social behaviour at the junction of Upper Brockley Road and Lewisham Way boiled over in to a shooting incident in 2007, the Mayor resolved to "take control", using the full extent of the Council's powers. A dispersal order was put in place and anecdotal evidence suggests it has had some positive effect.
So-far, we've had no-such resolution as a result of Brockley Cross' problems, which go beyond these two high-profile cases. Official response has been scant. One Council memo we were shown on Friday, understated the severity of the first shooting incident to an almost comical extent.
We're not in a position to say what measures would be appropriate in this instance but we'd hope that an holistic approach, which addresses dangerous traffic (which unlike the shootings has led to the loss of life), anti-social behaviour and crime (which are all part of the same problem) could be developed, so that long-term improvements to Brockley Cross, that will benefit the whole community, are achieved.
The questions we have posed each of the main mayoral candidates were drawn up before either of these incidents but they were asked how they would improve Brockley Cross and what crime and anti-social behaviour problems they consider to be the most serious. So we await their answers with interest.
In the mean time, we hope that anyone effected by either incident enjoys a swift recovery.
Following his conversation with the police, Cllr Walton said:
"Local residents and any possible future residents need to be reassured that these incidents are not going to become a regular feature in Brockley and residents can continue to get about in relative safety. The latest available figures for Brockley Ward show that 'crimes against the person' have reduced from 41.1 per 1000 of the population to 31.8 in the year to February 2010."
Cllr Walton's blog now carries a statement from the Met Police's Superintendent Lisa Crook:
"We understand the community are anxious about recent incidents of violence in Brockley and share these concerns. Our officers take this very seriously and are committed to putting a stop to violence on our streets. Officers from Trident are investigating these matters and urge anyone with information to contact them.""Members of Brockley Safer Neighbourhoods team are patrolling the ward to reassure local people, and if you need to discuss any concerns please contact the team."
Anyone with information should contact Trident on 020 8785 8580
And this too shall pass...