Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gang Members Carrying out 'Initiation' Burglaries

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gang Members Carrying out 'Initiation' Burglaries

Article excerpt

Byline: Justin Davenport Crime Editor

TEENAGERS are being ordered to commit household burglaries as an initiation rite to join gangs, police and community leaders warned today.

New research shows that gang members in London are also increasingly diversifying into crimes such as burglary to raise cash.

Police fear the trend may be driving a rise in the number of residential break-ins in some inner city areas.

A report by Brent council on a 12 per cent increase in burglary in the borough states: "Initial information suggests suspects are increasingly young people from the local area associating with gangs and highly organised and mobile suspects who are operating across a number of boroughs."

Scotland Yard says about 25 per cent of all violent burglaries in London are now committed by gangs.

The report says that the trend is "a change from the more traditional profile of a suspect, who is typically older, has a history of substance misuse and previous offences". Community leaders say the surge in break-ins means many residents on inner city estates are now too frightened to leave their homes. Brent councillor Zaffar Van Kalwala, who commissioned the research, said: "This is a worrying trend which I believe is happening across London.

"The robberies are affecting people's lives with many feeling vulnerable because of the gangs and their antisocial behaviour.

"What concerns me is that gang members never used to commit crimes on their doorstep but that is what seems to be happening now. …

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