Crime slashed at Barnsbury estates

Crimes of drug-dealing, drinking, theft and intimidation have been halved at Barnsbury estates after action was taken over the problems.

New figures show that criminal offences were slashed by 50 per cent in and around Joseph Grimaldi Park, Pentonville Road, after police teams in Islington joined forces with housing associations and the council following complaints about a group of youths causing anti-social behaviour.

Between September and November 2010 there were more than 30 crimes committed in the area, compared to 14 during the past three months. And police received 18 emergency calls in the same period last autumn, compared with just six this summer.

In the crackdown so far, several people have been arrested for drugs offences which has resulted in seven convictions and police seized drugs and weapons including a meat cleaver and a knife from the area.

Local residents played a key role by recording and reporting problems as they happened and various steps were taken including a number of antisocial behaviour contracts (ABSs) being drawn up, police patrols and one eviction.

Pc Chris O’Toole, of the Barnsbury Safer Neighbourhood team, said the area had been “transformed.” He continued: “It took a great deal of sustained work from my team, the council, staff in the housing associations and residents but it was worth it because it has vastly improved the area.

“The drug dealers have been brought to justice, sending a message to the people causing anti-social behaviour, and we now rarely get called out to deal with any problems. We have also developed good relationships with the community which helps us to continue keeping the area safe.”

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A local resident said: “Things on our estate were really bad. We had a very large gang of violent men dealing drugs outside our homes, intimidating us and vandalising our property. Our elderly neighbours were too afraid to leave their houses and there was a permanent atmosphere of fear and distress pervading our lovely estate.

“Working with Peabody and the police has been a revelation. Our estate is now free from drug dealers, vandals and aggressive acts of intimidation. The residents can go about their business without fear and there is a noticeable difference in the atmosphere in and around the flats. We are very happy with the outcome.”

Barnsbury Safer Neighbourhoods team (SNT), the Safer Neighbourhoods Taskforce team and the joint council/police Anti-Social Behaviour Team worked closely with Peabody and Newlon Housing Trusts to combat the issues.

Early next year the council and partners will be introducing a new single number to make it easier to report anti-social behaviour in Islington.