Stoke Newington is a hot bed of ASBOs and ambiguous crime, according to new Crime Map
By Sophie_RT | Wednesday, February 02, 2011, 22:42
I can't keep up! The BBC recently described Stoke Newington
Stoke Newington's The Jolly Butcher is made to look troublesome by Government's new Crime Map
as being like a 'village', 'safe' and 'green' in To Buy or Not to Buy - a
property and relocation programme; and there was a flurry of retweets on
Twitter last week when local journalist Marcus Fairs wrote that “Stoke
Newington is Dalston hipsters' idea of a weekend in the country”. Yet
statistics released on the new 'Crime Map' website launched this week show
something rather different.
Putting in the postcode for the middle of Stoke Newington Church Street (N16 0AP), the
results returned were a little alarming. With nearly 500 reports of anti-social
behaviour in the area in December 2010 alone, it doesn't seem to have been the
season for love and joy around here after all.
19 of the incidents are pinpointed to the same place outside The Jolly
Butcher, along with one report of vehicle crime, one violent crime and four cases
deemed as "other" - that's 25 in total, in one month. Now, is it just
me, or is The Jolly Butcher a respectable, real ale pub that may be being tarred with
a brush that belongs slightly further over, in Smalley Estate (which has no reported
And if this is so, then what is this new nationwide initiative good for? Is it
anything more than a scare-mongering set of stats that will damage good
businesses like the Jolly, and do bad things for house prices at a time when
property is struggling enough as it is?
The Home Office insist that the purpose
of the £300,000 website is to increase the accountability of local police
forces and encourage residents to have more faith in their work. This is a
great idea for somewhere like Stokey, where the police have a widespread and
awful reputation stretching back many decades. Fair or not, a rep like that is
hard to shake-off, despite the on-going clean-up that the force has undergone
over the years. The Crime Map offers the kind of empirical evidence that could
prove very useful at showing residents of N16 how hard the police actually
work, and exactly what it is that they are working at (I say exactly; “other”
crimes are anything from shoplifting to paedophilia, so it’s not totally precise). In Stokey’s case, it’s
a hell of a lot of anti-social behaviour, it seems.
On the other hand, what most people in the area are using this Crime Map for is
not to see how good the police are,
but to check how bad the crime rate
is. Stoke Newington is blurry ground between being the safe haven that the BBC
dealers, drug takers and gang related activity. But generally, over the years,
the former seems to be winning out despite a bumpy start to 2011. This Crime
Map – for all its stated good intentions – surely only functions to tip the
scales back over to the dark side and give the impression that we live in an
area where walking along Church Street has the potential to end in either rape
or someone nicking a Kinder Surprise (there goes that “other” again).
My point is, how useful is this Crime Map in capturing and reflecting the reality of Stoke Newington? If you haven't already - and with four million hits an hour, it's been a tricky task - check it out. Do you get anything positive or negative from the statistics? And practically, do you think the figures will have any impact on property value or Stokey's reputation; or is this all just a case of a hyper-reactionary media being overly critical of a bold and honourable gesture that has been made by the Home Office and our Police?
Photograph courtesy of Ewan-M at Flickr