I've put in a call for more details but the basic facts are there - six individuals or groups had particularly nasty experiences last night and you have to hope that the three people arrested are indeed the guilty parties.
But in the meantime, and I ask this question hoping that there isn't a repeat of the violent reaction to the last time I questioned police tactics, I do just wonder about the wisdom of advertising things like this. You hear a lot about fear of crime outweighing the reality of crime itself, and the Bush has had more of its fair share of particularly nasty incidents recently which is not helped by some sensationalist reporting of rumours. So does knowing that three people have been arrested give people a sense of security or does the fact that six robberies occurred make people feel more fearful about the area?
When I interviewed this young woman who had been the victim of a burglary this summer it was clear she was desperate to get out of W12 as a result, and based on what she told me who can blame her. I know several of you are also planning on leaving, partly because of what you hear about crime rather than having experienced it yourselves. But then how do the police get the message out, goes the counter argument, and isn't it better to give people the straight facts directly along with some advice about how to prevent crime.
It's a dilemma with no easy answers, but in the meantime let's hope those who were robbed are OK.
1500 UPDATE - ...as if to emphasise the dilemmas a number of you pointed out that I'd assumed the "robberies" to be "burglaries" and had used the terms interchangeably. I've corrected the article now but it does kind of underline the dangers involved in sending these tit-bits of information out via Twitter. Without a full picture it's all too easy for things to get confused.
Saturday UPDATE - I have just had the following information from the Police about the robberies that took place up and down the Uxbridge Road - and it aint pretty.
- A 14 and 15 year old were robbed of a mobile phone, new clothing and a bicycle.
- Three teenage males with shopping bags were approached by a group of black males who then stole property from them
- A 16 year old male was attacked by a group of black males and was robbed of his shopping
- A 15 and 16 year old were surrounded by a large group in Uxbridge Road who 'hugger mugged' them taking a mobile phone and personal property
- A 17 year old male was approached by a group of black males who asked for his property but he refused and was beaten
- A 13 year old boy was surrounded by around 5 black youths and threatened but no property was actually stolen
- A 20 year old was robbed of his shopping and was punched and kicked.
If people have any information regarding these incidents they can contact Hammersmith CID on 0208-246-2441 or CrimeStoppers in confidence on 0800555111.
A Hammersmith and Fulham Police Spokesman told me:
"We are committed to identifying the perpetrators of this distressing crime and have deployed additional resources to the area. We will not tolerate such activity on Hammersmith and Fulham Borough and are working closely with partners and retailers to bring these offenders to justice. We would again remind visitors to be vigilant and to register their purchases with Immobilise.com whenever possible. If they notice anything suspicious then they should use the 101 or 999 Police numbers"