Should parents be concerned for the safety of their teenagers out and about in Richmond Upon Thames?

In light of yet more tragedy last weekend that saw the fatal stabbing of two 17 year olds, one in East London, the other in Greater Manchester, should parents feel a heightened sense of fear for the safety of their own teenagers when out on their own or with friends? There have been 10 teenagers and children killed to so far in 2019, after 37 were killed in 2018, and 39 in 2017.

According to Metropolitan police stats and data, in Richmond upon Thames, over the past year from January 2018 to January 2019, there have been 389 robberies in comparison to January 2017 to January 2018, where there were 256 robberies. This increase in numbers suggests that crimes like robbery are on the rise in Richmond. Does this mean our streets are more dangerous to children?

One local incident, on the 22nd of February, saw police called at 6:30pm to a report of a robbery at KFC on High Street, Hampton hill in South West London. The police and officers arrived on the scene 47 minutes after the victim's initial call. The victims of the crime had a mobile phone and a certain amount of money stolen from them by the two suspects said to be aged between 16 and 17. Richmond upon Thames Police released a statement on 26th February stating that, "although understandably shaken by the incident, the victims were fortunately unharmed". No one has been arrested as of yet, but enquiries are being made.

So what advice do the police give for staying safe? In order to avoid a robbery, if you are walking at night you should be extra cautious, stay on well lit, relatively busy roads, and plan your route beforehand so you don't get lost. Don't use shortcuts that involve walking down alleyways or across parks in unlit areas and if you're carrying a bag keep your hand over the fastening and have it across your chest. One of the key points stated by the police is that you should always, "be aware of your surroundings and stay alert to what's going on around you," and that you should be careful with your technological items like talking on a mobile or listening to an MP3 or carrying a laptop - try to keep these hidden as they show thieves you have something to steal and only take your wallet out when necessary. If you feel you're being followed, "cross the road or go into a shop and stay there until you're safe."

Despite growing fears, the Richmond upon Thames police do state that they are aware of the perception that crime has been increasing in Richmond and that they wanted to reassure the residents that this is not the case and that, "Richmond Police and Council continue to work together in partnership to make Richmond a safe place to live and work.