'Shank Town' Brings in the Cleaners to Drive Crime off the Streets; New York State of Mind: Councillors Believe Cutting Litter and Low-Level Crime Will Reduce Serious Offences, as Happened in the US City

The Evening Standard (London, England), October 2, 2008 | Go to article overview

'Shank Town' Brings in the Cleaners to Drive Crime off the Streets; New York State of Mind: Councillors Believe Cutting Litter and Low-Level Crime Will Reduce Serious Offences, as Happened in the US City


Byline: ROB SINGH

A NEIGHBOURHOOD nicknamed "shank town" after a spate of stabbings is to adopt New York's approach to fighting crime.

Enfield council is using the "broken windows" theory in Edmonton in the hope it will halt killings, robberies and anti-social behaviour.

Scores of street cleaners, jet washers and environmental crime officers are carrying out a deep clean and fining litterers this week as part of the drive to make the area safer.

The thinking behind their strategy is that a problem ignored, even one as apparently minor as a broken window, sends out a signal that disorder is tolerated encouraging more serious crime and vandalism.

Former New York police chief Bill Bratton applied the same theory to the streets of his city, and to people who committed small crimes such as farejumping, through the Nineties. He was backed by mayors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg with spectacular success.

Now residents have labelled Edmonton "shank town" - shank is street slang for being knifed after five of the 27 teenagers killed in London this year died in the area. Four of the killings were drug or gang related.

The cleaning operation is part of Operation Lyon, the joint council and police project designed to tackle antisocial behaviour, violent crime, burglary, robbery and motor vehicle crime across the borough.

Terry Neville, Enfield council's cabinet member for environment, said: "Our staff will be carrying out a major deep clean in Edmonton as well as other hotspots of litter and crime in the borough. …

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