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Worried about crime in London

Yeovil, United...
Level Contributor
2 posts
11 reviews
Worried about crime in London

I am going on a five-day cruise of the London Ring in September and am getting worried about the rising levels of crime. Am I panicking needlessly? I am travelling with an elderly relative and they are freaking out over reports of moped/acid attacks etc. I am trying to reassure them as they are so looking forward to the trip but are very nervous!

64 replies to this topic
United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4,048 posts
1. Re: Worried about crime in London

"Am I panicking needlessly? "

Yes.

London, United...
Level Contributor
644 posts
82 reviews
2. Re: Worried about crime in London

Yes, you are panicking needlessly.

Shrewsbury, United...
5 posts
1 review
3. Re: Worried about crime in London

I don't think your hesitation is unjustified. The crime in London is really going through an upsurge at the moment. I personally would not feel very safe visiting there unless they start getting serious and putting more police on the streets.

That's just my 2 cents. Hopefully all goes well though, just be cautious.

London, United...
Level Contributor
6,235 posts
77 reviews
4. Re: Worried about crime in London

I live in the suburbs and travel up to central London a number of times each week. I never feel unsafe . In fact the opposite as I see people giving up their seats for the elderly on the tube and generally behaving in a considerate manner. Enjoy your visit.

London, United...
Level Contributor
11,213 posts
23 reviews
5. Re: Worried about crime in London

Has there actually been an increase in crime or has there been an increase in a particular type of crime which is being widely reported? That’s a genuine question to which I do not know the answer.

Greater London...
Level Contributor
1,841 posts
6. Re: Worried about crime in London

" In fact the opposite as I see people giving up their seats for the elderly on the tube " I have never seen that happen, I did see a man stand up to offer his seat to a pregnant woman though but another woman rushed in and sat down before she could. What a wonderful country England is.

London, United...
Level Contributor
11,213 posts
23 reviews
7. Re: Worried about crime in London

<<In fact the opposite as I see people giving up their seats for the elderly on the tube " I have never seen that happen, I did see a man stand up to offer his seat to a pregnant woman though but another woman rushed in and sat down before she could. What a wonderful country England is.>

I see it frequently, I also see people helping carry pushchairs up and down stairs. It’s not at all unusual for this 62 year old female to be offered a seat.

Guildford, England
Level Contributor
6,073 posts
16 reviews
8. Re: Worried about crime in London

Well Cam people offer me a seat all the time on the tube even in rush hour. I must really be looking old these days.

London, United...
Level Contributor
133 posts
128 reviews
9. Re: Worried about crime in London

honeslty, don't be alarmed. yes terrible things MAY happen, but they probably won't. you might scald yourself with a kettle tomorrow or get run down by a bus.but you probably won't. millions of poeple go about thier business every day in perfect safety. OF COURSE is make sense for the press to highlght crime. it is sensational and sells papers but it isnt the normal run of things. Dont let fear of rhe massively unlikely ruin your trip

Lockhart, Texas
Destination Expert
for Austin
Level Contributor
2,510 posts
17 reviews
10. Re: Worried about crime in London

Brittraveler31's instincts are correct. There are some things you need to know about crime numbers. After a lifetime as a peace officer, including time being responsible for trying to place reported crimes in their proper categories, I can tell you that (if you can stand the long post), unless you are intimately familiar with both the reporting system AND the operations of the individual law enforcement units, you won't learn very much from the numbers.

I don't know how such things are processed in the UK, but official bureaucracies generally don't differ much around the world. In the U.S., the FBI maintains the Uniform Crime Reporting system. It counts selected categories of reported criminal incidents. But the categories are very broad and have to be very simply defined to make it as consistent as possible. But that means the categories don't fit well with the actual elements of offenses in bodies of state law. For an example that will help explain one of the problems, in Texas, a burglary is completed at the moment someone "breaks the barrier," meaning an object or part of the body breaks the building's limits with the external universe. So if I stick a pry bar into the space between the door and the frame, I have at that moment committed a complete burglary, even if I then run away or am discovered. Why does that matter to crime reporting?

First, it is very difficult to commit the offense of attempted burglary. Almost any overt act against the building completes the burglary. But the UCR Program has three subclassifications for burglary: forcible entry, unlawful entry where no force is used, and attempted forcible entry. As you can see, none of those distinctions are relevant to actual criminal statute. Prying the door is, so far as the penal law is concerned, exactly the same as turning the knob and entering without consent with an intent to steal. So, the first problem for a police agency is translating actual crime reporting into UCR reporting. You're not absolutely bound to participate in UCR, but there are some means of twisting your arm.

The other problem is that interpreting the physical crime scene is left to the agency. For instance, I find a door of a business freshly pried upon. Now that can be any of several offenses, but we'll consider only two, burglary and criminal mischief, damaging property. If I want to make it look like there is a low incidence of burglary in my city, I need only view those incidents as criminal mischief, a relatively minor offense. And with some more mental gymnastics, I can make it not even that offense and take it altogether out of UCR reporting.

And because UCR obviously can only report crimes reported to law enforcement, it's not a count of crimes but a count of reported crimes. This creates a situation like the one we had for many years. My agency followed up every reported crime. There may not be much you can do with a stolen bicycle, but what could be done, we did: maintained a stolen property list, put the list in the hands of patrol, checked pawn shops and yard sales, checked found bicycles and parts against the list, etc. We certainly didn't find them all, but we found some that (1) we would not have found with the effort, and (2) the owners never expected us to find, so they told people about their bike being found. People therefore reported their relatively trivial offenses, because they knew the got some attention. After all, their neighbor got his bike back.

Down the road a few miles the police department did basically no follow-up on minor crimes. Naturally, no one ever got the property back. They had no expectation that any investigation would be attempted, so they never reported things. They also interpreted every report to the end of, whenever possible, treating it as a non-URC report. The result was the we, who did actively do what people had a right to expect and conscientiously did proper UCR reporting had bad UCR numbers, while the slack agency's city looked virtually crime-free on paper, but because the crooks also knew they didn't follow up, they felt free to steal all they could.

And in violent crime, you have to know who is doing what to whom and why. Prosecution policy can make assaultive crime numbers, especially domestic assault numbers go up and down, sometimes because victims feel confident and do more reporting or feel little will change and do less or because the perpetrators feel more confident or less confident about being punished. We saw similar things in other types of crime. When we got the prosecutor to refuse to drop domestic violence charges at the request (coerced) of the victim, we saw an immediate rise in reporting and then a fall off as potential perps got the message. And when we assigned one detective to work nothing but juvenile crime, our juvenile crime numbers went sky high because we suddenly knew which ones were done by juveniles. It would have been reasonable but completely erroneous to assume there was more actual juvenile crime. Two years later, they hit genuine new lows because the active offenders were being addressed.

And frankly, the tolerance of the populous and their willingness to intervene matters a great deal. A people who, through cowardice or on account of misguided official policies want to depend only on the police to protect them will find that there can never be enough police. In some of the safest places I know, law enforcement is very thin, but people consistently take up for themselves and others at need. Not unlike the "hue and cry" that was the core of the British response to crime before there were police.

And during the two weeks in April in London, somewhat to my chagrin, I was more than once offered a bus seat. I knew I was old, but I didn't think it was so obvious.

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