Crime in Islington increased in nearly every category last year

Cllr Paul Convery

Cllr Paul Convery - Credit: Archant

But council safety leader said there has been ‘relative calm’ in recent months, and believes figures will stay down

Crime in Islington increased in almost every category in the past year, a new council report has warned.

Community safety leader Cllr Paul Convery admitted it had been an “extremely challenging year” – including the “shocking” deaths of Alan Cartwright, 15, in February, and Stefan Appleton, 17, in June.

On Monday, the council’s policy and performance scrutiny committee was presented with the annual crime and disorder report.

It revealed that between October 2014 and September 2015, 15 out of 19 types of offences rose compared to the same period in 2013/14.

There was a 26 per cent increase in knife crime (352 incidents to 279), 15 pc rise in serious youth violence (208 offences to 181) and 47 pc increase in snatch thefts (2,785 to 1,889).

Youth crime was the most heavily discussed issue at Monday’s town hall meeting.

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But Cllr Convery said the past few months have seen a period of “relative calm”, with 123 of the worst perpetrators in custody or subject to restraints such as curfews. Questioned if crime will simply go back up once the youths are out of custody, Cllr Convery said: “They will come out with restraints. They won’t be given a free reign. There will be close eyes on pretty much most of them.

“If there are breaches, they will go back to jail. The families are very conscious of what they [the offenders] have done and don’t want their kids going back. I think that will have a calming effect.”

Cllr Convery also addressed the huge increase in snatch thefts, which peaked at almost 400 in April but dropped to 140 by September.

He said there needs to be a change in how people think about crime: “In Islington we have a curious culture of people who have a very lenient attitude towards criminality: ‘boys will be boys’.

“To a lot of them, phone snatching is seen as an insurance job. It’s tolerable and the victim possibly gets an upgrade anyway. They see it as a victimless crime.”

Types of offences that went down in Islington in 2014/15 included a 21 pc drop in gun crime (34 from 43) and a 4 pc decrease in burglaries (2,330 from 2,428).