Parents take action following spate of thefts, reports James Cracknell
Parents concerned for the safety of their children have started a community crime patrol to deter thieves.
It comes after a series of muggings in and around Enfield Town, deliberately targeting schoolchildren on their way home, prompted the headteacher of Enfield Grammar School to issue a warning to parents.
The ‘Enfield Says No To Crime’ campaign was launched in February by Love Your Doorstep founder Emma Rigby, whose son is a pupil at the school. With support from local police officers and business leaders in the town centre, the first community patrols began in March.
Emma told the Dispatch: “They were being targeted because they are children. There are other kids coming into Enfield Town from outside the borough, they are befriending kids here and then taking their money and their phones.
“One of them was even kidnapped from Southbury Road by four guys in balaclavas and driven around in a car while they took his stuff.”
A meeting between Emma, Enfield Grammar School headteacher Chris Lamb, town centre manager Mark Rudling, and Metropolitan Police representatives, took place at the end of February. It was decided to launch community patrols – with trained volunteers in hi-vis vests working shifts to coincide with the start and end of the school day, as well as at lunchtime.
Emma said: “We are not vigilantes, we are extra eyes and ears for the police. Similar patrols have been set up around the UK and they have been getting huge support.
“We are trying to create a bigger adult presence on the street. It will hopefully deter this crime against young people. If people start to see us out and about the children will feel there is a sense of community, instead of feeling isolated.”
Emma said she felt compelled to act when her 11-year-old son Jackson asked her whether he would “get through school alive”.
She added: “My long-term vision is, if there is a major crisis in our borough, to have a team of people we can call on at the touch of a button.”
More than 100 people have so far signed up to join the community patrol. The first shift hit the streets around Enfield Town centre, where children from several different schools pass through on their way home, on Monday 11th March. Emma said that two muggings were prevented on just the first day.
A crowdfunder has been launched to help fund the cost of running the campaign, which is currently being funded by Love Your Doorstep. Patrols for other parts of the borough could also be set up in future.
For more information about the Enfield Says No To Crime campaign and to get involved:
Email [email protected]