I am in my early forties. I have a lovely wife, a daughter aged 7 and a son aged 10. I have been working for the London Underground for 20 years. I am secure, my children are doing well at school, and my wife and I are happy. I am not overly ambitious, as I feel that I have achieved what I wanted in life. I came here 18 years ago from Bangladesh. My children are British, and we are secure.
However, I wouldn’t have said that my life was peaceful, up until about 6 months ago. I live in East London. I live in a rented property. The area is so densely populated, that the rent prices are so high. Here, you will find 2-3 families living in one 4 bedroom house. Even then the rent is more than a third of peoples income. We live from hand to mouth.
I mention this because moving home is not really an option. We would have to save for a deposit and 1 months advance for the new property. A while ago, there was nothing we wanted more. Even though our flat was clean and nice. Our family life was insidiously becoming a living hell.
There is a big drug use problem. Adults and children come all over to take drugs in our town. Alcohol, Weed and Heroine. There are a lot of alleyways where they congregate. Unfortunately, for us, our home is in one of those. That means we have groups of boys in our back garden, drinking and smoking. They also happen to be drug dealers. So in effect, our garden is what they consider to be, as their office. From 9. 00 in the morning to late at night, these boys and their ‘customers’ come to buy and get high.
They have absolutely, no fear. I have come out often and asked them to leave. I say asked, and not shout, as to be quite frank – it’s very scary. They know where I live. I know nothing of them. As a result, they sometimes leave, at other times they ignore me, and stay, or they get nasty and swear. Actually, almost all of the time they just ignore me and stay.
Friends and family have told me to go and call the police. But that is not really an option. For a start the police can’t do much. As they told me over the phone – trespassing is not a criminal offence. It is a civil matter. To be fair they have come down a few times. But the boys just run away, and are back less that 30 minutes later. On top of that, one of my neighbours is a single mother. She told me that she had a couple of boys knock on her door demanding to know why she called the police. She hadn’t, and told them as much.
I spent over a year nagging, pleading with my Landlord to deal with the issue. It was him who had called the police. He has been there personally as well. It was only when his son turned up that when things changed.
He called CCTV London. They totally transformed the neighbourhood. They have fitted in lights that come on automatically at night, when someone comes near. This on its own has deterred a lot of the hoodlums. They no longer have the confidence that anonymity gives them. This was the first step. They were installed in half a day.
A week later, a new high iron gate was installed. Complete with lock. This made a huge difference. Most of the day time ‘customers’ for the drugs were in no healthy state. Climbing over the gate was way over their ability. This must have shaved off about 95% of the trespassers.
The final instalment is another iron gate that connects my garden to the alley. This will make it impossible for them to enter my garden at all. The peace of mind this has given me is a true BLESSING! Life is good. I don’t think I will move home, just yet.
I have written this, as a thank you to CCTV-London. Thank you Kulwant, for having a passion for your work, and doing it well.