Thursday, February 15, 2007


Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair has spoken to the Home Office about lowering the age at which the mandatory five-year sentence for carrying a gun could be imposed, and said his force was "absolutely determined" to end the recent spate of shootings.
The latest, in Clapham on Wednesday, has heightened fears that gun crime among teenagers in south London gangs is now out of control. Even officers used to dealing with gun crime in the area have been "shocked and appalled" by the young age of the latest victims - two 15-year-old schoolboys and a 16-year-old.
James Andre Smartt-Ford, the eldest of the three, was shot and killed at a busy ice rink in Streatham on February 3. The other two, Michael Dosunmu and Billy Cox, were both gunned down in their homes in Peckham and Clapham respectively - Michael on February 6, Billy only on Wednesday.
Police arrested a man on Thursday over Michael's murder. He is now being questioned by detectives. It was the death of Billy Cox that prompted Sir Ian, Britain's top police officer, to call an urgent meeting of his most senior colleagues to discuss the shootings at Scotland Yard.
They also looked at two other murders in south London in the last two weeks - those of Chamberlain Igwemba, 47, who was shot in a flat in Camberwell, and Javarie Crighton, 21, who was fatally stabbed in Peckham.

When I began this blog I made the comment that serious crime was increasing in Britain. It is very sad that the areas I knew so well as a child, and teenager, Camberwell, Peckham, Clapham and Streatham feature so much in the news for the wrong reasons.
What are the causes of this upsurge in violence?
I could give a very long list, but clearly the breakdown of the family, lack of discipline in schools, the denigration of religion, and the absence of police foot patrols on the streets are among the main reasons.
I don't believe poverty can be blamed because in the 1960's the community in South East London, both black and white, was comparatively poor but the discipline of parents, teachers and the police kept young people on the straight and narrow.
Even real villains like the Krays and the Richardsons tried to avoid violence against what they called "civilians". Today young criminals have no respect for the law, the police, their families or themselves, and we face a bleak future unless policies that have brought this situation about are reversed.
I will get down off my soapbox now........
Get Rich or Die Trying: Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson
The more featureless and commonplace a crime is, the more difficult it is to bring it home. [The Boscombe Valley Mystery: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 1859-1930]


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