The reality of crime in Islington
With some of the highest average housing prices in London, Islington is generally perceived as an affluent borough. So how come it has higher crime rates than Hackney?
Islington has one of the highest rates of recorded crime in North London, even beating neighbouring Hackney. This may come as a surprise to some, as Islington is often thought of as one of the most affluent boroughs, its average house prices being some of the highest in the capital.
Statistics released by the Metropolitan Police service, for the year ending March 2014, show that there are 116 recorded crimes per 1,000 people in Islington, compared to just 103 in Hackney. The gap becomes even wider when looking at specific crimes, such as those categorized as ‘theft from the person’. Here, Islington has 58% more reported cases than in Hackney.
Despite the statistics, many are still not aware of the reality of crime in their local area. Kathleen, a retired London resident, has lived on the Islington border for over a decade. Despite living within close proximity to both Islington and Hackney for so long, she admits to still feeling safer when in Islington.
“I know Islington better then Hackney, and it feels very safe to walk about,” she says.
Although familiarity plays a part in Kathleen’s security, she admits that her comfort, and lack thereof, also comes from the aesthetics of both areas.
“Islington is a very well developed area, and it feels very safe to walk about… I have only passed through Hackney on the bus and it looks very run down, and I would not feel safe walking in that area.”
Which is safer – Islington or Hackney?
PC Jason Burton, an Islington police officer, has worked with the police force for over two decades. He is more than familiar with the consequences that come from people’s misconceptions of the areas in which they live.
“A lot of people think to themselves that, because their address is ‘Islington’, they don’t need to be cautious,” he says.
When asked why this is not the case, PC Burton explains that those looking to commit crimes will often go to well developed areas, such as Islington, where the affluent surroundings often place people into a false sense of security.
“Take Green Lanes, that road is the border between Islington and Hackney. It is easy for people to walk over into Islington, where people are a lot less careful. People walk around with their phones out, leave things in their cars. That’s how you get things stolen.”
The map below shows some of the crimes reported within the Green Lanes area, during the month of August 2014. In the space of just 31 days, the small area saw a variety of crimes. The most common crimes were Public Order offences, offences described by the Metropolitan Police as crimes that ’cause fear, alarm or distress’, as well as Violent/Sexual Offence crimes. However, several forms of theft, including robbery and burglary, were also prevalent.
Although Kathleen feels safer in Islington, she does make sure to take certain precautions when leaving her house, knowing that crime takes place everywhere within the capital, no matter how affluent the area.
“When I am out and about, I never use my mobile phone. I also make sure any other expensive items are out of sight, and that my bag is secure.”
It is important to remember that, no matter how affluent the area, you can never be sure you are safe from crime. Wealthy areas, it seems, act as nothing more than a facade.
Featured image: FreeFoto.com