Police gave a talk about mugging to a group of concerned Notting Hill mothers this month. There had been several attacks on teenagers by teenagers in Ladbroke Road at the end of last term. The muggers wanted something for nothing, loose change and a mobile phone. In over half the muggings in this area phones are taken.
Though the police assured the group that we live in one of the safest areas and that mugging crimes are not high in Notting Hill compared with the rest of London, PS Louise Keirs says: “It is your right to feel safe on the streets.” Most crimes in the area involve shop lifting in Portobello Road and cycle theft.
“Boys tend to get mugged more than girls, often because girls move around in groups and boys are in ones or twos. The average age people get attacked in this area is 16 years and up, possibly because the older boys have better phones. In London as a whole half the victims are under 21,” says PCSO Ben Grix.
Keirs and Grix gave the following advice to teenagers: Don’t use the top deck of the bus, sit near the driver or downstairs. On the tube choose a busy carriage and sit in the middle of the carriage. Always use your voice if you are attacked or, if there is one, go into a nearby shop. You are less likely to be attacked if you carry yourself with confidence, walk as if you are sure of yourself. “If you look like a victim you will be a victim,” warned Keirs. Also, don’t use a phone on the tube, keep it on silent and if you have to use it, text, don’t call. If you want to use earphones don’t use Apple ones, get some cheap ones. Register your Oystercard. One of the mothers at the meeting mentioned her sons always carried an old phone to give a mugger.
One warning the police were keen to give is ask your children not to take a night bus as they are full of drunks and after 12pm crime goes right up.
Mothers at the meeting were concerned about violence. Grix reassured the group. “Most muggers are between 16 and 24 years old and are often in a group on bikes for a quick getaway. They often say they have a knife or a gun but don’t often use them, it’s too much risk: if they get caught with a knife they will go to jail for a long time, just for an iphone.” Grix also pointed out there are knife arches outside Ladbroke Grove tube from time to time. These contain a metal detector, and people are asked to walk though them as they leave the tube and then have to hand over any weaponry. Keirs ended with the sage advice to just hand over whatever they want: “You don’t own anything it’s worth getting hurt for.”