Unpleasantness this morning, as I saw a mugging at Camberwell Green.
It was about 9am, I was waiting at the lights to turn right onto Camberwell Road when I heard some confusion and a man shouting “Fuck off!”. I looked around and saw some motion over on the corner outside the doctor’s surgery; a man was on the ground and two youths in hoods were running away up Camberwell New Road. A jeep swerved into the kerb and a man jumped out to offer help. The two youths were long gone.
As the lights changed and I turned, I passed the victim; he was bleeding from his scalp. He had people around offering aid. It was all very brief and confusing and nasty. It was also the first act of street crime I’ve witnessed in eight years or so of living and working here.
I know that street crime in Southwark is high, and I know that Camberwell Green is one of the hotspots in the area. And it appears it’s on the rise, although this is purely based on accounts I’ve heard from other people, and I don’t know whether this means it actually is on the rise or just whether there are more people talking about it.
I’m not sure that an increased police presence in the area would cause a drastic drop in street crime, but it’s surely an option worth exploring; I know the one time I needed to find a policeman, it took me ages until I finally saw a pair of special constables on the Green, heading towards the Magistrate’s Court (and there’s an irony there: the centre of justice with a crime hotspot on it’s doorstep). I’d love to know what effect the closure of the police station had on crime.
The CCTV effect seems to have passed; it’s fairly useless against a hooded top. And I think ending theft born of poverty and theft born of greed might just be too big a project for this blog to take on. So… what’s the solution? How do we stop the rot in our spiritual heart?
I just felt so sorry for the guy this morning; 9am at the start of the week, and already he’s bleeding, confused and out of pocket.