Clayhall resident sets up crime WhatsApp groups in response to violent burglaries.
- Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
Some of it may be down to users sharing more, but for a lot of residents it feels like crime is overwhelming the social media news feed at the moment.
This coupled with growing anxiety about police budget cuts is causing “heightened emotions” for people living in Redbridge.
In response to the situation, one Clayhall resident has set up WhatsApp groups for members living down the same street to communicate and alert neighbours to crimes and suspicious behaviour.
So far 21 streets and lots of residents have signed up and Minhaj Ahmed said the sole purpose of the initiative is for neighbours to share safety and security information.
“It can be anything from one person saying they have seen a guy loitering around to sharing a number plate of a car that doesn’t look right,” he said.
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“It is making people more aware of what is going on around them.”
Minhaj said that residents are nervous about the number of Clayhall crimes in the last few weeks.
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In the last fortnight alone there have been six incidents of theft and burglary around Clayhall Avenue.
He added: “Excuse the pun but at the moment burglars are striking gold (by stealing Asian Gold) and we feel like easy pickings.
“It is really positive that residents are coming together but we shouldn’t have to police the streets, they should be doing that.”
“Something has to be done and the Clayhall Community Centre is holding a meeting on Sunday (February 4) at Glade Primary School for residents and MP Wes Streeting will be speaking.”
The idea for the WhatsApp groups came about after Minhaj heard about a burglary on The Drive, Ilford, where the victims were threatened with weapons.
Calling the attack an incident that “broke the camels back” he decided to take action, not just for his children and family but for the people of Clayhall.
“The groups have definitely helped the sense of community,” he added,
“People are meeting each other and getting to know that person who they would wave to in the street but would never speak too - it is bringing people together who wouldn’t usually interact.”