Crime has gotten so bad in a Central London neighbourhood that muggers have robbed tourists with a machete, a local councillor has claimed.
Lancaster Gate councillor Laila Cunningham has said a once-in-a-lifetime £3 billion regeneration “can not come soon enough” as the area has drug dealing in broad daylight. The area has had to put up with stabbings, drug deals in the open, muggings and burglaries, according to the councillor.
She told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “Tourists got mugged with a machete. Residents don’t feel safe walking around anymore. Our local police are unfairly being blamed but they are not getting the right support. It creates a bitter relationship with residents. The lack of police presence makes people feel unsafe that’s unacceptable to me. The Mayor of London has let Lancaster Gate down.”
Hassan Saleheen, the manager at Nisa Local on Craven Road, has put up 50 photos of alleged shoplifters in the window and behind the till to try and name and shame culprits.
The shop was losing about £30 worth of items to shoplifters every day but now that he has put the pictures up the number of stolen goods has gone down.
Hassan said: “They come in groups and create a distraction. Sometimes they get violent. We put their pictures outside so that everyone knows them. They will probably leave the area.”
Another resident, who did not want to be named, added: “Students in their school uniforms are approached by drug dealers wearing Covid masks.”
The Local Democracy Reporting Service was shown photos of alleged drug deals taking place in broad daylight on a quiet street near Hyde Park. There was also a spate of muggings outside of a nearby school last year, according to residents.
Queensway, one of the main shopping roads nearby, is set to go through a hue makeover complete with 350 new luxury homes, giant glass pods for Parisian-style outdoor dining, and a new flagship Six Senses hotel. New apartments will stretch across the main street between Notting Hill and Hyde Park and new shops, cafes and restaurants will pop up all over the area.
But councillor Cunningham said residents can not rely on the development to improve crime rates in the area. She told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “It’s a great development but people feel unsafe now.
“We can not wait. There is no guarantee that it will make a difference. It is not on the developers to keep our streets safe. It is up to our mayor.”
The Tory councillor has now sent a petition to London Mayor Sadiq Khan in the hope of getting more officers on the street. She added: “Our Safer Neighbourhood Team used to be comprised of 10 officers now its only two officers, we need Lancaster Gate to be deemed a city centre and allocated more police officers.