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Whats in Wapping

Crime in Wapping and St Katherines

Crime in Wapping and St Katherines

We’ve taken a look at the latest figures to see how crime in Wapping compares to Tower Hamlets and the wider London metropolitan area.

As well as the emergency services, Wapping and St Katherines has a dedicated Safer Neighbourhoods team of six officers to support our community.

We wanted to find out how the team operates in Wapping and St Katherines, the support they offer and their 2011 priorities for tackling crime in E1W.

New online crime maps

Launched on 1 February and costing £300k online crime maps provide detailed information on reported criminal offences for every street in the UK [BBC news story].

Like any new system there are inevitable teething problems so we’re viewing the results with initial caution. But enter your postcode at www.police.co.uk to find out about crime in your street and let us know what you think.

To protect privacy, incidents are mapped to an anonymous point near to the actual point of crime. For a small area like Wapping there’s obviously a higher risk of potentially misleading results. For example last week we heard some Thomas More employees tweeting surprise at finding just a single car crime in their local area.

Putting Wapping crime in perspective

The official annual police statistics tell us about all 2010 reported incidents in Wapping and we can see how they compare to Tower Hamlets and the wider London metropolitan area.

Image Wapping Crime Statistics 2010

Overall the total number of reported incidents for Wapping and St Katherines (137) per 1,000 population is average for Tower Hamlets (138). The most obvious difference is a higher rate of theft and lower incidence of violent crime in Wapping.

The exact area covered and the crime categories used in the annual statistics are slightly different to those in the online crime maps so bear this in mind if you’re trying to compare the two.

Wapping crime highlights

Stolen Wapping BicycleBicycle theft

We know from comments on our Facebook Page that stolen bicycles were a big problem in 2010, presumably driven local second hand cash markets.

We’re pleased to see local officers ran a major 2010 operation in Brick Lane to target this. Bicycle theft has been significantly reduced since.

Flasher in King Edward Memorial Park

Hopefully an isolated incident, but Docklands24 reported a flasher exposing himself to a 29 year old jogger on 25 January 2010.

Black cab driver attacked

On 18th January 2011 around 6pm in Wapping’s Brewhouse Lane a driver was attacked in his cab by a group of youths after dropping off a passenger nearby.

We’re very pleased the driver’s ok now and was driving his cab around Wapping just 2 weeks later.

A horrible incident but it was reassuring to hear him tell us what a brilliant community Wapping is. He explained how passers by stopped and nearby residents came out of flats and restaurants almost instantly to help him. The Marine Police from Wapping High Street also assisted until the emergency service arrived a short time after.

When we spoke to the driver at the end of January he told us police investigations were still underway but two suspects had been identified in what he described as a nasty “drug and alcohol fuelled” incident.

Car crime Wapping

Motor vehicle crime

Residents have been noticing in increase in the number of vandalised vehicles on Wapping streets in recent months.

Mentioned several times on our Facebook Page and as an example, this broken into vehicle was spotted by a Wapping resident in January 2011.

Mobile phone theft

A growing problem everywhere and Wapping is no exception. The second hand resale market for mobiles is very accessible and profitable providing instant cash. We’d like to see a 2011 operation to target mobile phone theft, or the motivation remains strong.

We’ve heard directly from victims of mobile phone theft who have had their phones snatched by groups of youths in the Wapping Lane/Tobacco Dock area. It can be a quiet and deserted area, but perhaps an increased use of Tobacco Dock, the completion of 21 Wapping Lane and better lighting would reduce opportunity?

Anti social behaviour

What constitutes anti social behaviour? It’s difficult to comment objectively and anti social behaviour can be a problem even if it’s not classified as an offence. It is a 2011 published priority for our Safer Neighbourhoods Team so clearly an indication there is a problem that needs addressing.

Wapping and St Katherines Safer Neighbourhoods Team

The local Safer Neighbourhoods team has 6 officers who are dedicated to making Wapping a safer place to live in, work in and visit. Find their full details at www.met.police.uk

We’ve been trying to speak to the team during the last month and despite leaving numerous messages on answerphones and sending emails have had no luck yet.

A resident on our Facebook page helpfully suggested approaching them during the day in the street: we’ve not managed to catch them yet but will keep trying.

safer-neighbourhoodsAccessible, visible and accountable?

The Metropolitan Police website says the Safer Neighbourhoods team provides a “more accessible, more visible, more accountable police service” but our experience so far doesn’t suggest this is true.

How are we supposed to contact our local team if we need to speak to them for non-emergency matters when just for the purpose of researching this article, we’ve had no response? Another Wapping resident aware we were having problems saw a community officer in the street and explained our difficulties contacting them. The officer didn’t have the answer but explained the problem could be that the community team is based in Cable Street but also work from Whitechapel police station.

We decided to call a local police station for advice, but the same non-emergency telephone number is listed for all 6 Tower Hamlets stations (0300 123 1212). After explaining we were in Wapping E1W we were transferred a number of times, as it was unclear which is our local station. Limehouse? Whitechapel? Leman Street was even mentioned which we know closed to the public last year.

The conclusion of every call was that we should contact our local Safer Neighbourhoods team on the numbers we’d already tried.

Which is our local Police Station and how do we contact the Safer Neighbourhoods team in Wapping? We don’t have the answer, but are very interested to hear about your experiences.

Safer Neighbourhoods public meetings

The team hold monthly public meetings and invite the community to tell them about crime and anti-social behavior in Wapping and St Katherines. In return they offer information about crime in E1W and people who have been brought to justice.

27th February public meeting

A street briefing will be held from 11-11.30am with a drop-in surgery 12-12.30pm outside Waitrose on 27th February.

The meetings are held during the day, so obviously difficult if you’re at work and it’s something we’d like to speak to the team about and ask for additional evening events.

Check the met police website for up to date details of this and future public meetings by the team for Wapping and St Katherines.

Crime prevention in Wapping

We wanted to find out what we can do here to prevent and tackle crime in Wapping. The media manager at Tower Hamlets police has replied to us and we’re hoping to speak to him for more specific local information and advice which we’ll pass on.

There’s a section on the Tower Hamlets website dedicated to crime prevention and we suggest you take a look as it contains some useful advice.

Unauthorised entry to communal flats

We were just finishing this article yesterday when we heard about an incident at 6am that morning in Dundee Court, Wapping High Street.

A “visitor” picked up a morning copy of the Financial Times outside the main entrance and gained entry to the block explaining to a leaving resident that he was delivering the newspaper.

The intruder was later found roaming the communal block and trying the front doors of various flats. The police were alerted and CCTV footage pictures are being examined which we’ll share when available as he could be trying the same thing elsewhere.

A reminder to everyone living in a communal block that they must challenge visitors and refuse entry unless they are shown official identification.

Wapping thoughts on crime

We’re disappointed not to have spoken to our local Safer Neighbourhoods team but do intend to keep trying.

Respect our commenting policy, but please let us know what you think about crime in Wapping if it worries you and your experiences with the non-emergency services.

We’ll pass comments here to the team before their next meeting on 27th February and also hope to be able to share their feedback and advice with you.


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  • Anthony

    I was one of a number of victims attacked and robbed by a group of youths over a two day period in the Wapping Woods – Tobacco Dock area.

    I can gladly report that the youths were promptly all caught, and today I received a letter informing me of a guilty plea entered. Happy to see some effective policing, as at the time of the robbery I’d resigned myself to not expect any arrests.

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  • Kristen

    Thank you very much for the detailed article. To be honest I had no idea there was a local neighbourhood Police team here but my personal experiences are not that different to what you’ve described. I’ve called 999 once and received a good response and was very satisfied with how I was treated. However I did once try to get in contact with Limehouse police station about something important but not really an emergency and gave up as I kept getting passed around from one department to another and never actually got to speak to an officer. I should have tried again and harder I suppose but they don’t make it very easy do they. Also these monthly meetings are during working hours and since most people living here either work or look after children I’d be surprised if many people turn up!