We do worry about the safety of teenagers

Thursday, 2nd December 2021

primrose hill  gates cnj27may21 Image 2021-05-27 at 08.16.22 (6)

Primrose Hill is now reopen, 24 hours a day, 7-days a week

• ELEANOR Sturdy asserts that the alleged “big fall in crime” in Primrose Hill Park is due to the installation of temporary gates, (Who is allocated to patrol Primrose Hill? November 25).

While her first statement is not borne out by the police statistics shared at the recent safer neighbourhoods meeting (or the data I received from an FOI to the Met police earlier this year) which showed that there wasn’t a large “crime wave” this year or last (a slight uptick in already low numbers at most), it is the second statement that is more misleading.

To suggest that any alleged “big fall in crime” is due to gating is to miss the wider picture. In the same way that a sledgehammer would crack a nut, gating probably did help reduce some of the numbers of people in park.

Coming out of a national lockdown, the night-time economy reopening, festivals starting up and people being able to travel again most certainly played a bigger part in this though.

Young people had somewhere else to go. And as a sledgehammer would indeed damage the nut, gating the park led to mayhem on Primrose Hill high street, displacement onto the railway bridge and a range of other issues.

A better solution would have been to patrol the park more effectively, rigorously enforce the byelaws and encourage and increase community engagement.

It is exactly because we are worried about the safety of teenagers in the park that myself and many other locals started the “Keep Primrose Hill Open” campaign.

We are a group of young families with children at the local community nursery and schools. We want our teenagers, in a few years time, to be able to go to a safe, lit, open and policed park at night time.

Gating and closing it would not deter teenagers and young adults congregating at the top, merely make it more unsafe for them to do so.

Closing off an outside space would encourage more to head to the streets, pubs, bars or nightclubs where far more danger lurks and they are more likely to encounter drugs, underage drinking and gangs.

There are already few safe options for teenagers and young adults to go to (outside of bars and clubs), we should be fighting to protect them and create more. Make them more safe. Not close them down.

To suggest that we don’t also worry about the safety of teenagers in the park is disingenuous. It is because we do we want it kept open and more actively policed.

AMY McKEOWN

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