pepper: Cup of tea (Tea)
I'm okay, and in no kind of danger, in case anyone was worrying. I was in London on Monday, but I saw absolutely nothing of the riots. It's a remarkably big city. It's more like several cities stuck together.

This all reminded me of the Brixton and Tottenham riots back in 1985. They began for similar reasons, in a similar climate - economic depression, Conservative government, the possibility that the police had caused the death of an innocent. That was a scary time. I lived close to Tottenham, and I went to school with the son of a policeman who was violently killed in the Broadwater Farm riot. I didn't know him that well (I didn't like him that much, either, but then I was eight and he was a BOY), but I keep thinking of him now, wondering how it affected him, and how he feels about this current situation. It must be difficult.

Broadwater Farm is a name fixed in a lot of North Londoners's minds as a Place You Do Not Go. Reminded about it, I looked it up. It's been reconstructed, both in the local organisations and in the buildings themselves (although the ugly high rise blocks are still there). The results are amazing:

Since the regeneration, Broadwater Farm now has one of the lowest crime rates of any urban area in the world. In the first quarter of 2005, there was not a single reported robbery or outdoor assault on Broadwater Farm, and only a single burglary, from which all property was recovered and the suspect arrested; this compares with 875 burglaries, 50 robberies and 50 assaults in the third quarter of 1985 immediately preceding the riot. In an independent 2003 survey of all the estate's residents, only 2% said they considered the area unsafe, the lowest figure for any area in London. The estate also has the lowest rent arrears of any part of the borough.

In 2005 the Metropolitan Police disbanded the Broadwater Farm Unit altogether as no longer required in an area with such a low crime rate.


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