Crime in Hackney -- can we as a community do anything about it?

Contrary to camouflaged reports, there is undoubtedly a serious problem with violent crime here in Hackney. Teenage violence, which is typically the result of tension amongst rival gangs, should be a concern to us all. Just the other day there were reports of two young teenagers, one carrying a gun; the other carrying a knife, chasing a 16 yr old boy down a Stoke Newington street. During the broad daylight chase, the youth carrying the gun opened fire (outside the Minihome Nursery in Allen road N16) at the fleeing youth. The 16 yr old managed to escape the barrage of bullets. But he may have ended up dead, children in the area at the time may have been caught up in the cross fire. Another family may have been mourning the loss of their loved one. Sadly this kind of brutal episode is simply another day in Hackney.

Here's a short account of teenage life in the borough

Gun crime in the borough is up by 25% and still rising; violence against the person is up; robberies in the borough are 8 times the national average, and tension amongst gangs is at a palpable high. My question is this: how long are we as Hackney residents going to wait before we begin to take these instances of vicious violence seriously?

I am all too often confronted by many Hackney residents of whom seem to have a habit of playing down the violence; playing down the shootings and stabbings and the inevitable tit for tat murders. They say things like, "oh... it ain't that bad," "I haven't had any problems," some even say "it's not my business, so it doesn't bother me."

I believe that this kind of blase attitude misses the point. It almost as if we've myopically become immune to these acts of callousness and thereby become content and uninterested in the problems that plague our streets. Hackney is where we all live, where many of our children are growing up. It seems as if many of us only become interested when someone close to us is caught up in the madness. This breakdown in community relationships is simply driving the already despondent youth into further ruin. You'll not be surprised to learn that all of the gangs in Hackney are named after the estates they live in. A point which only serves to strengthen the link between poverty, council estates and gangs.

Worringly, Hackney harbours the largest number of gangs; in fact, Scotland Yard indicated that Hackney had twice the gang problems of any other area in the country. And what are the government doing to tackle the problem?

I think the silence speaks volumes.

I believe we need to discuss the problems with youth violence and crime in the borough generally, as a community. All comments are welcome.

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