Community leaders in Croydon have responded to recent figures, which show that half of women and girls in the borough do not feel safe where they live.
The survey of over 1000 borough residents, released as part of the Safer Croydon Community Strategy, revealed that women and girls feel particularly unsafe while waiting for public transport and walking through parks.
It also showed that women feel unsafe even in busy public areas like high streets and shopping centres.
Despite decreases in robbery and burglary, violent crime in Croydon is on the rise, with the borough ranking sixth in London for reported felonies.
Croydon also recorded the highest levels of domestic abuse in London during the pandemic.
The issue of violence against women was found to be so severe that the strategy paper recommended it should be treated with the same severity as knife crime.
Croydon Mayor Jason Perry responded to the findings in a council cabinet meeting yesterday, where he outlined plans to work with local agencies and community groups to tackle gendered crime.
He said: “The council can, and will, play a leading role in creating this environment and our statement of intent clearly signals that there is no room for violence or harassment in our borough.
“We are determined to keep working with the police and local partners, but also closely involve our communities, as we deliver solutions to keep women and girls safe.
“We are also aware of the need for wider cultural change within our society and are firmly committed to continue challenging the perpetrators of violence, tackling problematic mindsets and behaviour wherever we encounter them.”
The Labour-led opposition on Croydon Council are also taking action on the issue, and noted that the Mayor’s statement was prompted by questions from Croydon Labour’s lead member for Community Safety.
Stuart King, the leader of the council opposition, said: “We welcome the Mayor’s statement which was a response to questions put to him by Labour councillor Enid Molyneaux and representatives from the community.
“It will be important for the Mayor to move swiftly from words to actions. In particular, we would like him to develop and publish proposals to improve safety in the areas of the borough where women said they felt least safe: West Croydon, Thornton Heath, South Norwood & New Addington”.
Croydon Health Services NHS Trust responded to the findings by stating that all staff will receive new training on how to recognize and respond to domestic abuse.
The Trust will also create a new partnership with the Family Justice Centre, which provides aid to victims of sexual abuse.
Croydon Police outlined new community-based policies that would make approaching the police about domestic abuse easier.
The police said that this will be achieved through police presence in ward panels, Safer Neighbourhood Boards and community meetings, with a focus on improving legitimacy.
Image Credit: Dr Neil Clifton / Croydon Town Hall / CC BY-SA 2.0