Crime in Tower Hamlets during the Halloween and Bonfire Night period was significantly reduced this year, thanks to a Metropolitan Police initiative.
“Operation Autumn Nights”, which tackled anti-social behaviour and crime across London between 19 October and 7 November, was particularly successful in Tower Hamlets.
Most categories of violent crime across the borough were down by 6.6% from the same period last year, and knife-enabled crime went down by 9.8%. The highest reduction was in robberies, which went down by 50% to 30 offences during the entire period.
The operation, which involved police, local authorities, registered social landlords, the London Fire Brigade, and Youth Involvement Teams, ensured that order was maintained on the streets during this busy period, and that public confidence was enhanced. Tactics included truancy patrols and weapon sweeps in identified hotspot areas.
Historical analysis across London shows peak police demand occurring on the night of the 31 October, with 123% more disorder calls than the London average.
During this period there were significant police deployments across Tower Hamlets. All Safer Neighbourhood Teams were working from 4pm to midnight, and in total there were 200 uniformed police officers patrolling the streets each night.
Residents of Brick Lane, which had previously been identified as a crime hotspot of Tower Hamlets, felt the positive impact of the extra security.
Rafique Ahmed, 60, who works in a bookshop on the street, said: “Generally, it is quite a dangerous area, but I have noticed more police around.”
However, Sabbir Ahmed, 45, who works with him, suggested the reduced crime had nothing to do with the temporary initiative. “It’s not dangerous at all anymore, since the police station came and cameras were put up,” he said. “It’s much better than before.”
Inspector Stephen Manger of the Safer Neighbourhood Teams in Tower Hamlets was pleased with the success of Operation Autumn Nights. “This was a partnership policing operation, with considerable planning and preparation,” he said, adding that it “enabled the local communities to have a safe and enjoyable Halloween and Bonfire night”.