To not feel safe in London anymore?(153 Posts)
I have lived in London since the age of 18 and in our current area of SE London for a decade now.
I've always felt like we were lucky to live here, safe, very friendly, nice parks etc.
Our DC go to an amazing school, and are very happy kids, with lots of opportunities to do different activities etc. They have loads of friends, as do me and DH, and I love the area. We are planning to move early next year into a bigger place locally (we need more space) and the plan was to stay put at least until the kids have left home.
However in the past year or two I have felt a real shift in how safe I feel in the area, and the amount of incidents that have happened seem to have escalated dramatically. I'm not sure whether part of this is down to local groups on social media and knowing more about what's happened (rather than being blissfully unaware), but I'm starting to get concerned and wondering if staying in the area is actually the right thing to do for our DC?
I'll summarise what's happened (and I've NC as this is potentially outing to me and to the area I live in).
- There is a sex attacker targeting school children on the loose in the wider area - I've heard of the most recent incident very locally this morning (seems to be groping/intimidation and nothing more serious - yet). We have received letters in school bags about it, and asking us to make sure children walk in groups and are vigilant. My DC are not old enough to walk along yet, but the eldest will be starting next year.
- There has been a gang attacking people after dark in streets very close to us - muggings, some burglaries by the sounds of it and one person was attacked on their doorstep. There is an alley I would walk down frequently to get to friends house, doctors etc which now i feel I have to avoid.
- There is a moped gang covering the whole of the SE of London, targetting eldery asian women to get thei jewellery (this has been widely covered). They attacked the grandmother of a girl at my DC school right outside the school at pickup time MY DD is aware of this because it happend whilst she was at school.
- I've had a nutter try to get into my car stopped at traffic lights round the corner from my house about 6 months ago. Luckily my door was locked. A few weeks ago in exactly the same place, a guy of the same description tried to open the door of another local mum (also had door locked thankfully).
- There has been a noticible increase in homeless people in the area (which I think has happened around the country). Whilst I am obviously concerned that so many people are ending up in these dire circumstances, there are certain places that people are begging that feel quite intimidating (ie blocking the entrance to shops whilst also drinking). Police intervention doesn't seem to have helped. A few weeks ago a drunk/drugged up man lay down outside our front window and was ranting/swearing/shouting for the entire night. It was very scary and intimidating (shouting racial abuse etc - I thought there was two of them for quite a while until we realised he was basically talking to himself). We called the police who were apparently on their way - they never turned up.
I don't want to leave our friends, the school, the localy community and more importantly the place we call home. However I now feel scared, and I am worried about my DC in the area espcially as they grow older and want more independence.
Part of me doesn't want to let the bastards win, part of me thinks this could all get worse (with police cuts etc) and we should really think seriously before we commit ourselves with the new house.
AIBU? Should we really consider leaving for some rural idyll or am I kidding myself and this could all happen anywhere?
We moved away from London to raise our children. It's wonderful, I have always wondered why anyone would voluntarily raise children there.
Posters will tell you that YABU.
I think YANBU. We moved away about 14 years ago, it felt like it was getting more threatening then with yellow boards springing up everywhere asking for witnesses for assault, murder etc. It started feeling too unsafe for me then.
I have never regretted moving out, although loved our time living in London. I'm quite wary when I visit too, although that doesn't stop me from going.
It's a shame, I loved London.
Am wondering exactly the same thing cecile about our part of London. I’ve lived in London all my life and don’t really want to move, but am concerned about things like acid attacks etc near where we live. I’ve posted on my local area board and there’s been a lot of people replying with very positive experiences of bringing up children in our area. I’m still worried though.
Ttbb - there are so many positives to raising kids in the city, I really do think that. I actually feel they are privileged to go to the school they are at, it's such a great community. The school trips to world class museums, theatres, art galleries etc that are the norm.
I grew up in a market town with a bad heroin problem (mostly due to boredom) so I've always felt that returning to that kind of environment wasn't right for us.
But now I feel torn.
Screamer - I've not heard of acid attacks near us, that sounds particularly scary.
I think raising children here can be so positive, but I' m also thinking of the 'what ifs'. It's horrible feeling intimidated.
But we do all of that anyway without living there...
honestly if you're torn then make a decision? if you think this is representative of a downwards spiral in your area then move.
But don't target the whole of London with your doubts. Lots of us are here and are happy. Personally I can't imagine raising my children anywhere else.
I live in small town commuterbelt and there have been sexual assaults of the kind you describe on children, and adults. Crime overall is lower though.
Relative to SE London, where we lived before, public transport is crap and streets quieter and darker. Lots of even teen DC are driven a lot - not great for independence IMO.
We moved out but commute in. Tbh it was as you describe in the part of SE London I was in 10 years ago, lots of crime, 3 murder posters when went to the petrol station one on our street, muggings, rape, people shot dead for Rolex watches and school kids asking for cigarettes and worse looking about 9. Moved right out to a lovely town whilst on 2 maternity leaves but all the decent jobs for me are in London so had to move closer.
Now closer but still outside and it is much safer though not as safe as the countryside town where the press used to report milk bottles taken. I think living out but within commuting distance can be a good option, you can get safe streets, nice houses instead of flats, better schools and even the countryside schools do trips to London.
We are in SW London and feeling the same way. I'm torn as we love London but we've made the decision to leave and while I'm still having wobbles (we're sold stc) dh is certain.
It's social media that makes you feel more insecure. Crime in my area is down but I know more about it than I ever have thanks to WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook..
Someone I know moved out of London to the countryside and has been robbed twice since. They feel less safe now, not more.
Switch off all social media and see how you feel in a few months.
We are having the same discussions. The moped gang problem in north london is intensely out of control. All the poor mums in Highgate who had to hide in the loo of a cafe because one of moped gang smashed the cafe window with a hammer and was robbing people minutes before school kicked out. The police are outrageously underfunded and with Brexit looming there isn’t going to be more money. But the big question is where to go? Where have Londoners moved to without family ties and been happy? We’ve been looking at Oxford and Cambridge but just aren’t sure.
Jenna - I'm not targeting the whole of London. Just concerned about what's happening (which isn't just confined to my local area). My title refers to 'my bit of' London if that helps. You don't need to be offended.
I don't know if it's a downward spiral. I'm struggling to make a decision because I don't want to leave! Until these things happened to me, and on our doorstep I also couldn't imagine raising them anywhere else. Would any of these events worry you or do you take them as part and parcel of city living?
I suppose I just wonder if I'm overreacting and it's something people just accept as a risk (like traffic etc).
I've lived in London all my life-I'm 51 now. As long as I use my common sense (eg I don't feel comfortable walking in parks after dark) I've usually felt OK. On the are occasion I've gone with my gut instinct and haven't, I've always got myself to a pub/MuccyDs/cab office and made my way home from there either by cab or by ringing my husband.
I've been mugged once and had a guy ask me to suck his d*ck which I know isn't great but have never been hurt or severely traumatised in London.
None of this sounds very different from when I was growing up in SE London. There were girls being targeted outside my school, there were (gang related) shootings in the local area, muggings, all sorts of crime.
That was 15-20 years ago. I feel like awareness of this sort of incident is greater now, due to social media, plus as a parent I certainly notice threats to my children more than I did when it was just me.
Personally I don’t think it is getting worse, and will continue to bring up our children around here.
Crossposted loads there!
Yes - there 'where to go' question is a big one. DH will have to commute in regardless. And I do also think - is the grass greener? Would we really be any safer?
The social media is a bit of a lifeline in terms of school info so I am loathe to turn it off. It's also conversations at the school gate and letters in school bags which are harder to avoid. But maybe you are right.
Ignorance is bliss?
Why anyone ( voluntarily) raises children there I just don’t know.
I dnt think ur being unreasonable at all . When my husband has to travel to London for work I Hate it. We lived there for a time (pre-kids) and I was constantly on my guard. A pregnant woman was attacked with a machete across the road from us and then whilst we were considering a change of address the London bombings happened , we got the hell out of there to Scotland ! It may sound overly dramatic but I wouldn't even allow our DC to school trip there
Good luck with ur choice
Lewisham has always been a bit shit. If you want to feel safer move a bit out into Bromley. You can stay in touch and fairly close by but it feels a bit less London scary.
HiptobeSquare - where are you moving to?
I was mugged in SE London, man with a crowbar, who hit me with it and also had wallet taken 3 times there. Once you've had it happen you don't feel safe anymore. Though certain rules help like don't go on a street after dark when you maybe the only person. Though pickpockets operate in very busy areas but that didn't bother me much.
Both Oxford and Cambridge are lovely though do check out schools.
Cecile, I have a feeling we live in the same part of SE London and are on the same social media groups as your stories are familiar. I have the same concerns as you so I totally understand your worries.
We are actually about to move a few stops down the train line to Kent to try and escape some of the issues, also whilst I love my children's primary schools, I feel the secondary schools aren't as good and I am concerned more generally about my children safety once they are a bit older, I want them to have freedom and would encourage it but it's so hard when you here the stories at the school gates or social media.
In year transfers can be a nightmare. I don't want to pull them out of their brilliant school to not be able to get them in anywhere good in a new place.
My DD wants to start walking home from school by herself next year. At the moment we live further from school than her friends so she would be alone for some of it. Right now I'm saying no way, she's not allowed!
GoodSouls - I thought the stories would be recognisable which is why I NC. I know I'm not the only ones having these thoughts.
The secondary schools seem pretty good though, particularly for girls, so that has actually been more of a reason to stay.
Interested to know how you made the decision. I'm a ditherer anyway, but I'm worried about getting it wrong and regretting it (either way!)
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