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Camden News - By PAUL KEILTHY
Published: 6 August 2009
Cllr Don Williams
Cllr Don Williams
Police deny ‘war on drugs’ has simply pushed crime elsewhere

Crackdown on Camden’s dealers ‘cannot be blamed’ for spike in other boroughs

POLICE have denied that crackdowns on Camden Town’s drugs market have caused a sharp increase in crime in neighbouring Swiss Cottage and Kilburn.
New figures show that burglaries, robberies and violent crimes have all increased significantly in the two wards over the last 12 months, with break-ins increasing by 65 per cent in Kilburn and 49 per cent in Swiss Cottage over the year.
Swiss Cottage councillor Don Williams, whose own car was broken into this year, said: “I have been in touch with a lot of people in the area and they have told me there has been more crime.
“They want more visible policing – bobbies on the beat – not just in Swiss Cottage but in neighbouring Kilburn, and more policing at night.”
Cllr Williams suggested the recession was generating crime among those struggling to find work, and that drug dealing and other crime had been displaced to Swiss Cottage by policing efforts in Camden Town, Queen’s Crescent, and the Kilburn High Road.
Camden police deny that residents in Swiss Cottage and Kilburn have become the victims of enforcement successes elsewhere.
Chief Inspector Louis Smith, in charge of safer neighbourhood policing, said: “It is too simplistic to say that is what has happened. The rise in drug offences there is because we’re enforcing it more regularly. I have far more resources in that area than I would normally have, and we’re doing more stop and searches, and getting more cannabis sanctioned detections in teenagers.”
Chief Insp Smith claimed residents had come on to the streets to thank his officers for acting against youth crime.
But he acknowledged: “The local view that more needed to be done around Rowley Way and Swiss Cottage was correct.
“You will see less robbery and less burglary now.”
The shooting of two teenagers and the pistol-whipping of a third in Ainsworth Way, near the Rowley Way estate, last month got the attention of the authorities. Although no arrests have been made, police immediately – and temporarily – increased patrols around Rowley Way.
Residents who spoke to the New Journal credited police with preventing a backlash to the shootings – widely thought to be the work of territorial gangs – but had mixed views on the long-term approach to the problem.
“It has got better in the past two weeks,” said Amnita Ahmed in the Alexandria and Ainsworth estate on Monday. “But it seems that a problem can go for years and no one hears you when you talk about it – then someone gets shot like we’ve been warning would happen.”
Others questioned the amount of facilities and training opportunities in an area with a proportionately high number of young people.
The Met’s online crime mapping system shows a swathe of amber (average crime) across London with just two red spots: in Camden and Westminster.
Camden’s crime is “above average”, while Westminster’s is “high”: results skewed by the millions of visitors to Central London, but still a setback after two years of falling crime in the borough.?Crackdown on Camden’s dealers ‘cannot be blamed’ for spike in other boroughs

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