Friday, 29 August 2008

SE11 goes Scottish

I just spotted an article in The Times advising that the Scottish Piping Society will be holding lessons at the Charlotte Sharman School on West Square. I wonder whether they are at all related to the somewhat incongruous man man who plays(?) the bagpipes on Westminster Bridge.

West Square itself is worth a visit as it has a lovely open green garden in the middle of it, and it's a bit of a haven in the Elephant and Castle area, but I might go and visit at a time when I knew the bagpipers weren't about :)

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Cross River Tram - we have a date

My "Cross River Tram" alert popped up a BBC article today to reveal the date crucial for whether the tram project goes ahead: September 9th.

The article contains a fabulous quote from Caroline Pidgeon who is upset that it takes longer to get to central London from Peckham than it does from Reading. I wonder whether that's because the people in Reading have more money... :-)

"It can take longer to get from places like Peckham to the centre of town than it does to get to places like Reading, and that is just ridiculous,"
she said.

Unfortunately, some councillors north of the river aren't so excited about our trammy ambitions :) But that's because they're all lucky enough to own and drive cars.

Anyhow, 9th September is when the tram review is to be undertaken by Boris Johnson. Here's keeping our fingers and toes crossed.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Ezekiel Adeboyego Ojo murder in Penrose Street

In the early hours of Friday 23rd August, Ezekiel Adeboyego Ojo was found with head injuries on Penrose Street (just off the Walworth Road, SE17) from several gun shot wounds. He died soon after. He was only 24 years old. Operation Trident are investigating the incident.

Penrose Street is not unknown to police. Unbelievably, the main police station for the area is on Manor Place, which is only two streets away. I sometimes wonder whether police turn a blind eye to crime that occurs immediately upon their patch. I don't think I blogged about it, but earlier this year on June 21st, two young boys were stabbed in Penrose Street (both are ok). Indeed, in the same article, it is noted that "The boys were attacked in a London borough being targeted by the Met as a knife crime hotspot with dozens of extra patrols and "stop-and-searches" of anyone suspected of carrying a weapon."

It appears that we don't need a Metropolitan Police Crime Map to tell us anything at all.

I know I'm probably last on the news front with this one as I haven't been near a computer since late last Thursday, but still, another shooting... In how many weeks?

Oval incident involving 173 innocent people who might have been about to commit crime

I've been offline (and will be for the next week or so) due to the house move, but heard more than the usual wailing of sirens and saw a lot of blue lights near to Oval tube station last night. There was clearly something more going on than cricket.

This morning we have the following round up:

1. The Metro reports that a "mob of 180 youths" who apparently only "planned" to unleash chaos at Notting Hill were stopped yesterday.

2. The BBC report that "About 180 youths were stopped and seven arrested outside Oval as police prevented a large group from going to the carnival". Out of the 150 or so that went to the police station, only "seven were formally arrested". Even more outrageous, "Police said they believed the group, which included many teenagers, were on their way to the carnival to create disorder and criminal incidents." And of course, it's definite that they might have been about to commit crime. After all, "Some members of the group had a history of being involved in disorder at the carnival, police said." The drama all took place in Harleyford Road, which was closed off.

3. Bathsheba at Stockwell News asked what was going on, and received reports of helicopters and police presence.

Is it just me, or does it appear somewhat wrong that a large number of {innocent} people were stopped by police, a huge number of {innocent} people were then detained, and only seven were arrested? I mean, the BBC report rather implies that these were people that only might have been about to commit crime. Can you really refuse to allow somebody to go to the Notting Hill Carnival on the basis that they might commit crime? And from all of the "intelligence" gained, why was it only possible to arrest seven people?

Of course, we're not living in a police state...

Monday, 18 August 2008

Crime in SE11, Lambeth, Southwark and surrounds

On some of my previous posts, I've been scathing about people who consider South London to be dangerous, full of crime and not worthy of their attention. I've been interested for some time about how much crime is really committed in the different parts of London, and what type of crime etc. I'm most interested in SE11, but being so close to SE1, SE17, SW8 and SW9, it seems that a wider view ought to be taken. We can hardly stop people postcode hopping to commit crime!

Crime statistics are massively flawed for (at least) the three following reasons:

1. Crime stats. depend upon people reporting crime. I know lots of people who are the victims of petty theft who wouldn't report their crime if they didn't think that there was anything the police could do.

2. The police, periodically, change the definition of of what constitutes a crime "bracket" for a particular crime. So if one bracket goes up too much eg. "violent crime", they'll remove car crime from the bunch and place it in a different bracket. This makes long term study of crime very difficult because it's hard to tell where the boundaries have moved from and to.

3. Periodically, the area boundaries for measurement of crime are changed. I'm not sure whether this is so much of a problem as changing definitions, but it no doubt factors.

Anyhow, having said that, I found that the Metropolitan police (with some cleverish google mapping) have plotted a crime map of London (excluding the City). The "crimes" it counts are burglary, robbery and vehicle crime. The map uses colour to display highest crime areas in orange and red, and average in yellow. One can then break the areas down furthur and see the crime in particular wards.

Overall, Lambeth has a yellow shading (average crime), but Southwark has a red shading (high crime) for June 2008. I checked the figures, which state 850 crimes in June 2008 in Southwark, and 739 in Lambeth. It seemed to me then that the margin of difference between the brackets was small. However, I've played around a little more and it seems that the average numbers are calculated on the size of the borough in question. Westminster had fewer crimes committed than Lambeth, but since it's smaller, it records "above average" crime for London. The site is only in "Beta/testing" mode at the moment and I've asked for feedback as to more detail on the crime for future versions....

Anyhow, looking at Lambeth overall, there are (as is predictable) pockets of parts of Lambeth with more crime than others for June 08, but the good news first:

Average Crime compared with the rest of London: Bishops Ward, Princes Ward, Vassall Ward, Stockwell Ward, Larkhall Ward, Clapham Town Ward, Clapham Common Ward, Brixton Hill, Herne Hill, Thornton Ward, Tulse Hill Ward, Streatham Hill Ward, Streatham South, Streatham Wells, Gipsy Hill, Knight's Hill,

The bad news (but note that Lambeth has no wards with "high" crime:
Above Average Crime compared with the rest of London: Oval Ward, Ferndale Ward, Cold Harbour Ward, Thurlow Park Ward and St Leonards Ward.

Lambeth is statistically safer (but remember that this is an odd figure because of the different ward sizes) than both Southwark and Westminster.

SE11 has average crime levels for June 2008 (much of the area is in Princes Ward so that seems correct), the small Oval Ward subsection of SE11 also has average crime levels. The west of SE11 (a small subsection of Princes ward) has above average crime, but it's not clear how much of that might stem from the Albert Embankment.

However, the borders of SE11 are not so good. At the south and east side, SE11 is surrounded by 3 pockets of "above average" crime and 1 pocket of "high" crime (I suspect that that is due to Vauxhall Station and its unpleasant surrounds). Directly north of SE11 near Elephant, there is a pocket of "above average" crime as well.

As I said above, I'm hoping that the Metropolitan Police Crime Map will be developed over the next few months so that it will be possible to compare different periods of time and break down the type of crime in any area. I'll report back as soon as they release the figures for July 2008, so we can just see whether it was a quiet month, of whether Lambeth might really be declared to be a place of only "average" crime.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Ashley Bucknor remanded for Walworth Road shooting

The Press Association reported on Sunday that a 19 year old man named Ashley Bucknor was remanded in custody for Ryan Bravo's murder on Walworth Road in SE17, which I reported previously here.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Another SE11 Blog

It seems that SE11 bloggers are brushing off their blogging skills and happy to share their insights with the rest of the world.

Here is the latest SE11 related blog, Flogging a Dead Horse from somebody who terms herself, "the grumpiest gal in SE11". She's started off with a suitably ranty post concerning bad manners and lack of courtesy on London's public transport.

Cross River Tram - a furthur update

I've just spotted a new post on London SE1 forum to advertise a seminar hosted by the Greater London Authority to consider the Cross River tram in light of current mayoral priorities.

Unfortunately, being mid-house move and working flat-out, the three wheeled person can't easily take the morning off, for the sake of attending the seminar. It would be great if lots of home-working / retired / flexi-time people could be present to give support and make a constructive noise.

It's possible to provide written submissions. I wonder if one has to be important (or represenative of some important body) so to do.

I'm uninformed on the structure and politics of the GLA, so I don't know whether this an officially mayor promoted/sanctioned event, or whether it's an attempt to stall for time, or quite what the purpose of it is. However, some of the panel of speakers look quite interesting, especially the one speaking on the business perspective from Camden, which (I think) sounds like a Tory / Boris Johnson type line of thought.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Walworth Road shooting - atrocious reporting by Daily Mail

You may have noticed yesterday that in my first post about the shooting on the Walworth Road that I quoted several sources; BBC News, Sky News and the Daily Mail. I included a brief excerpt and link to the Daily Mail, without saying much, and indicated that they are not my preferred source. It appears that the first Daily Mail report has vanished... However, I did manage to find a Google cache of it here. The report that replaces it with the "innocent victim" remarks can be found here.

What's so interesting about the report's disappearance is the way that the initial report was entirely inaccurate. The first report rather implied that Ryan Bravo was a member of a gang and that he entered a rival gang's territory. I'll quote from it furthur down. You'll notice in my posts that I never speak of race/colour unless they're in some way pertinent to the story in question. eg. I might report on the "Black LGBT Pride march", but I wouldn't report, "Leeona Smith, a black woman from Vauxhall won an award". I don't see race as particularly useful data in relation to a killing/award ceremony etc. Although, I have to confess that I /do/ want to be told about instances of racial discrimination, so there's a careful line to be trod. However, there are rarely reports that state, "Lots of white traders have manipulated the market and caused huge losses".

But, despite it's political incorrectness so to do, I want to raise the question of whether the Mail would have posted its initial story if the victim had not been black. The initial report didn't mention that the victim was any particular colour (although they did mention the colour of the moped riders), but I just think that the inaccurate report reflects the Daily Mail middle-england bias of the kind of story they'd /like/ to report on from South London, irrespective of its veracity. If I were the parent/friend/partner of Ryan, I'd sue them for serious inaccuracy. Of course, I caught the online version very quickly, and don't know if it ever went to print...

So, let's look at some of the discrepancies:

Report 1:

"One man, who asked not to be named, said the youth had deliberately crossed into a rival gang's area as an act of bravado.

'If you cross over you are going to make sure everyone knows about it. It was a statement,' he said.

'He wanted to be a big man. That is why it happened. It is a gang zone around here. He is from the wrong side and came down here trying to act the big man." ...

'I have known him for years, ever since he was a kid. He did not go to school, he was in a gang.'"


Report 2:

"The teenager shot dead at a supermarket in London was the innocent victim of a dispute between two street gangs, it has emerged.

College student Ryan Bravo, 18, was caught in the line of fire as two or more gunmen tried to shoot the two youths after they strayed into the wrong territory."

In report 1, the police are quoted:

"Police sources said the victim was not a major gang figure. 'He is not known to Trident - he is not a major player. That does not mean he wasn't involved in more petty postcode rivalries.'"

It seems to me that saying somebody is "not a major gang figure" rather implies that they might be a minor figure! Luckily, that's all sorted out later...

Report 2:

A local resident said: 'He was a good boy. I didn't ever know him to get into any trouble.

'My son and him were always talking and laughing together. As my son would say, he was a gentleman – he didn't have any "street name" or anything like that.'

How is it in any way acceptable to publish a report that is later found to be almsot entirely inaccurate? Does this happen often?

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Update on Walworth Road Shooting

Furthur to my earlier post about the Walworth Road shooting (and one reason not to trust the Daily Mail) is that the male, now named as Ryan Bravo, has been revealed to be an innocent bystander, shot in the back during gunfire between local gangs. Some reports are saying the incident took place on Camberwell Road, but it appeared to happen at the point of the road just where Camberwell Road becomes Walworth Road.

The Telegraph reports that police suspect the shooting might be linked to an incident in Myatts Field earlier the same day.

Anybody who has furthur information relating to those involved in the incident has been asked to contact the police's Operation Trident.

Walworth Road Shooting in Costcutter

I've just seen the BBC news and Sky News of a shooting yesterday just outside the SE11 area in the Walworth Road (SE17).

From the brief details available, the killing took place in Costcutter. The victim was aged 18 and male. He is the 22nd victim to die in London this year from shooting or stabbing.

The Daily Mail (not a preferred source) states:

Onlookers said the shooting at 9.45pm yesterday was gang related and part of a vicious "postcode warfare".

I'm posting this because I want everybody to keep noticing that our young people are killing each other. It can't be written off as just "gang related" killing as though that either explains sufficiently or justifies in any way. A death should not become just another statistic.

I'll post more news as it becomes available.

My thoughts and prayers are with the family of this young man.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Trying to find a flatshare in SE11 [Part 2 of house hunting in SE11]

This is Part 2 of an ongoing series for people interested in buying, renting, flatshares, obtaining local authority or housing association property, squatting or crashing on somebody's floor in the SE11 area.

Today's post is about finding a flatshare in SE11 (or around the area).

First things first... There's no point in trekking around the Kennington or Vauxhall branches of letting agents in order to try and find a room to rent. If you're new to London, you may not realise that letting agents do not advertise flatshares. This is mostly because there's no money in it for them. Consequently, the only sort of property that you'll find in SE11 from letting agents are studios, advertised somewhere between £180 - £210 per week (around £780 - £910 per month). And the likelihood is that if you're looking for a room to rent, you won't be able to afford a studio.

There are a couple of reliable ways of finding flatshares:

1. You could try the age old Gumtree website. Searching through the listings is one option, although you might want to set up email alerts because property will go quite quickly.

2. One new development that I think provides the best way for searching for a Flatshare is from Globrix. The search engine provides the ability to search for lettings properties using the new criterion "Flat Shares" in the box at the top left of the screen. Typing in SE11 and clicking "Flat Shares" reveals that there are currently 23 flat shares available in the area, ranging from £69 to £160 per week. It squeezes information from all of the property portals and puts it in one place, thus reducing the time you'll spend Googling.

3. There are a number of specific websites that deal with flat-shares only. A quick Google reveals:
a. Move flat
b. Spare room

There are at least another 12 sites that seem to specialise in this area.

Once you have spent 10 years sharing a flat, you might be able to afford to buy a run-down studio in SE11. Please then refer to the link below for one idea about buying a property in SE11.

A useful website for those looking for houses in SE11 - [Part 1 of house hunting in SE11]

My personal quest to make SE11 a bit greener

Following on from a recent article in the East London advertiser that suggested that Vauxhall Cross and Brixton Road are within the top 10 most air-polluted roads in London, perhaps it's time that car drivers other than trades related people or minicab drivers start to reduce their car use. Some of Vauxhall Cross is included in the SE11 area, and I was surprised that one neither Kennington Road, Kennington Lane nor Kennington Park Road were included in the top 10 list, especially considering their proximity to Brixton Road and Vauxhall Cross.

Current petrol prices might encourage the trend to abandon cars in favour of other methods of transport. (C'mon, the Cross River Tram would be a real asset...) I imagine a move from petrol to LPG powered vehicles might help the cause... But best of all, it would be really exciting if London could become more cycle friendly. I was reading an article in the Independent by James Daley who has changed his cycling route from being based around the quiet back streets of Stockwell to a new busy route along the Thames Embankment. Having seen Clapham Road/Kennington Park Road also become a route for cyclist anarchy, I'm not surprised that he notes
"much of my route seems to turn into a cycle racetrack"

I try and cycle responsibly (not going through red traffic lights, sporting bike lights at night etc.) but I hope the trend towards cycling will lead to some form of stiffer penalty for cyclists that break the rules in a dangerous manner. As a driver, cyclist and pedestrian, it's fairly clear to me that cyclists are the worst transgressors of the highway code (especially couriers). On the other hand, there's nothing more frustrating than facing red light after red light when on a bike, because the traffic lights are phased for motorists. Obviously, I'm not suggesting changing all of the lights in favour of cyclists, but some innovative thinking re. roads that could be "cycle only" or more cycle paths (preferably not on pavements) might mean that cyclists could ride around more safely.

Once the move has taken place, I hope to get the trusty old bike out again (am a bit worried about the level of bike theft, so a folding bike might be a better option), and cycle to work where possible. That will probably turn Lurking about SE11 into a list of traffic violation grievances, but hopefully it will also help SE11 go green!

Label Cloud