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Rise in burglaries and muggings in Crouch End and Muswell Hill sees public meeting called

PUBLISHED: 18:54 28 January 2019 | UPDATED: 19:21 28 January 2019

Middle Lane, Crouch End saw a string of Christmas holiday break-ins. Picture: Polly Hancock

Middle Lane, Crouch End saw a string of Christmas holiday break-ins. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

A Muswell Hill estate plagued by break-ins, a Crouch End Christmas day burglary spree, children mugged by older teens at bus stops on the way home from school.

Twyford Avenue, Fortis Green - where families have been contemplating private security to battle a mugging menace. Picture: Polly HancockTwyford Avenue, Fortis Green - where families have been contemplating private security to battle a mugging menace. Picture: Polly Hancock

Across the west of Haringey, a rise in crime has left families scared, disillusioned with the police, and contemplating crowd-funding private security, and in response, local police have organised a community safety meeting for February 22.

One local man, Ossie, saw his Middle Lane home in Crouch End burgled on Christmas Day, but luckily, he thought, he had caught the perpetrator on home CCTV.

He said: “I went to my brother’s on Christmas Day, then came home on Boxing Day to find the place had been ransacked.

“I managed to get a clear enough shot of the perpetrator from a CCTV camera he had attempted to destroy. “

Dukes Avenue, Muswell Hill. Picture: Polly HancockDukes Avenue, Muswell Hill. Picture: Polly Hancock

Despite the clear image of someone breaking into his home, police were unable to follow up and closed the case. But after spotting others in Crouch End had been affected, Ossie decided to post the image online and put posters around Crouch End.

“I just felt something had to be done,” he said.

Meanwhile in Muswell Hill Zoe Berger was reeling when both of her elder sons were mugged within a week.

“They both happened in about late November. My older two kids regularly get the tube home and then walk back. They were threatened by older teenagers one after the other.”

“That was that. We did call the police but officers said they probably wouldn’t be found. I just don’t think they’ve got the resources.

“My 13 year old was very freaked out by it, he just didn’t want to go out after dark.

“There’s a bit of community spirit about this now, we share what’s happening on WhatsApp, and everyone thought about trying to pitch in for private security, but there wasn’t quite enough interest.”

Another Muswell Hill resident who did not wish to be named, added: “We’ve had teenagers mugged, and now it seems there’s a trend for burglars driving cars off of people’s drives after break-ins. The whole area is nervous about this now. It’s as bad as it’s ever been.”

Local councillors across Muswell Hill and Crouch End shared concerns about crime. Luke Cawley-Harrison (Lib Dem, Crouch End) and Julia Ogiehor (Lib Dem, Muswell Hill) both said increased crime was making locals feel vulnerable.

Cllr Cawley-Harrison told this newspaper constituents had told him they felt “increasingly vulnerable in their own homes”.

“As police numbers drop, those conducting these crimes are becoming ever more brazen, safe in the knowledge that the likelihood of recourse has decreased,” he added.

Cllr Ogiehor, who is the Lib Dem spokesperson for community safety, said: “Parents continue to tell us of their fear that their kids will be next and the best that they can hope for is that only their children’s belongings get taken. That is no way to live.”

Insp Rhona Hunt runs Haringey’s neighbourhood policing teams. In a statement she told this newspaper: “Unfortunately Haringey, like the rest of the country, saw an increase in burglary in 2018. In particular, the west of Haringey experienced an increase in burglary during October and November 2018.”

She explained several offenders have been jailed over these crimes, and there were “100 less homes” in the borough burgled in December than in November.

She also confirmed although muggings did not rise last year, there were “localised robbery issues” around some schools and that neighbourhood police continued to visit victims of crime and work with schools.

On robberies, Insp Hunt said: “We are continuing to target this issue by patrolling key areas at key times.

“We are, as ever, keen to have dialogue with communities about local issues.”

February’s meeting, to take place at Hornsey Town Hall from 7 til 9, will see police representatives from each ward in the west of Haringey meet with members of the public.

This comes after, in December, it was revealed that Crouch End ward alone saw an average of a burglary a day in November.

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