Angel Edmonton resident says she fears for her safety living in block blighted by crime

Crime, antisocial behaviour and fly-tipping makes council tenant’s life a misery, reports Grace Howarth, Local Democracy Reporter

The College Gardens block seen from Fore Street and (inset) fly-tipping in a communal area
The College Gardens block seen from Fore Street and (inset) fly-tipping in a communal area

An Edmonton council tenant has been left to deal with crime and antisocial behaviour on her estate so serious she believes her life is “in jeopardy”.

College Gardens resident Yasmin* has lived in her flat for 30 years but told the Local Democracy Reporting Service there had been issues with crime there for three years and that in the last six months it had got so bad she “needed to move”.

She said there was drug dealing, prostitution, knife crime and sexual assaults happening in the stairwells, lifts and waste storage areas of the block, which overlooks Fore Street in Angel Edmonton.

Yasmin said when she reported these incidents to the Metropolitan Police she was told “they can’t do much” because they were “under resourced” and “haven’t got the manpower” but to “contact the council” instead.

The council, in turn, told her to call the police.

Yasmin said the police told her that until there was a “serious incident” they “couldn’t do anything”. She alleges her complaints were not taken seriously because she is a black woman.

Following enquiries by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Superintendent Chris Byrne, the local policing lead in Enfield, visited Yasmin and left his number for her to use when she needed.

Supt Byrne said he wanted to “reassure residents” in the Angel Edmonton area and the borough generally that his neighbourhood policing team was “absolutely committed to tackling crime and antisocial behaviour”. 

Describing recent attempts to confront antisocial behaviour on her estate, Yasmin said: “I almost got hammered in the head over the Christmas period as I told them to leave the stairway.”

She said they’d also shouted threats to attack her with “a knife” through her windows. 

Yasmin claims most residents now won’t go out at night because they feel threatened. She puts the recent increase of incidents down to the lack of a visible police presence. “They feel they can take over because nobody is doing anything,” she said.

Yasmin added that she’s now worried for her safety because the group recognises her as she’s proactive in calling the police and attempting to chase people off the site. 

This story is published by Enfield Dispatch, Enfield's free monthly newspaper and free news website. We are a not-for-profit publication, published by a small social enterprise. We have no rich backers and rely on the support of our readers. Donate or become a supporter.

When she contacted her housing officer earlier this month as a “last resort” Yasmin said she “broke down” explaining the situation and told him she thought her life was “in jeopardy”.  

Yasmin has reported to the council that she often sees paraphernalia left outside her flat including “needles, drugs and condoms”. She even warned her family not to visit her at Christmas because of the issues.

Supt Byrne said he’d recently been to “two community meetings” and listened to what residents had to say. He said the ‘New Met for London’ plan had allowed him to bring in “additional officers” and “realign existing teams” in ways “we havn’t been able to previously”.

He added: “For example, where there was one inspector overseeing the 25 wards across the borough, we now have five sharing that responsibility, meaning a real investment in local policing for Enfield.”

Update (29th January):

An Enfield Council spokesperson said: “College Gardens is part of the Joyce Avenue and Snells Park regeneration project, a comprehensive transformation of the Upper Edmonton area which will result in more than 2,000 new homes and improved, green spaces. While this transformational scheme takes place, we are faced with some historical challenges which Enfield Council, with the community partnership team and the police, are proactively addressing across the whole area.

“First and foremost, Enfield Council has a responsibility to protect its residents and staff. We are looking at a multi-agency approach to tackle the reported antisocial behaviour (ASB). No-one should feel intimidated in their home or place of work.

“A comprehensive audit of the area has been conducted by the police to identify crime hotspots. This information will be crucial for implementing effective measures to deter criminal activities and to reassure residents. The community partnership team and the safer neighbourhoods team have formed an active partnership which has seen an increase in policing around the estate.

“It is of huge assistance when ASB issues are reported in a timely manner to the council and police, so we can deal with them quickly. Applications for rehousing will be assessed and claims of ASB will be investigated.

“In regard to maintenance and repairs, our caretaking team and contractors are working hard to deal with outstanding issues. We are exploring modifications to main doors to enhance security and restrict unauthorized access. We appreciate residents’ patience in this matter.”

*Not her real name

We know times are hard

If you are struggling to make ends meet, we are keeping Enfield Dispatch free because of you. We know that many people cannot afford to pay for local news, so this website and our print paper will always be free. If you can afford to, and value what we do, a small monthly, yearly or one-off contribution can support us to keep providing quality journalism for Enfield to our community for free.

Monthly direct debit 

Annual direct debit

£5 per month supporters get a digital copy of each month’s paper before anyone else, £10 per month supporters get a digital copy of each month’s paper before anyone else and a print copy posted to them each month. £50 annual supporters get a digital copy of each month's paper before anyone else.  

Donate now with Pay Pal

More information on supporting us monthly or yearly 

More Information about donations