Decent people everywhere will share a sense of revulsion at the news that a teenage asylum seeker of Kurdish Iranian origin has been seriously injured in an apparently racially-motivated gang-attack in Croydon, South London on Friday night. But Simon Jones, the BBC correspondent reporting the story, paints a somewhat flattering picture of the area in which the attack took place.
Jones notes in his report that ‘many were keen to tell me what happened was not typical of the area, describing it as a place where people do get along’; that, according to Croydon Central MP, Gavin Barwell, ‘Croydon is one of the most diverse bits of London and people of different backgrounds get along very well … Croydon is culturally diverse and we need to continue to celebrate that’; and that one resident has responded by spraying graffiti near the site of the attack on Shrublands Avenue that reads “Refugees Welcome”.
However, those who recently voted Croydon the fifth most dangerous place to live in London (https://www.thetoptens.com/most-dangerous-places-london/croydon-833227.asp) seem not to share the view that diverse multicultural Croydon is a cause for celebration. Here is a representative sample of their impressions:
‘I grew up in Croydon. I was lucky enough to get out of that wasteland about four years ago now. Never looked back. Lots of gang activity and race crime. There was a time me and my friends were in the town centre at night and a gang threatened us with concrete blocks – just for being white!’
‘My friend was stabbed to death and then 2 hours later another gang saw him on the floor wounded with knife marks they didn’t help him they just stabbed him for the fun of it also he was only 9 and not in a GANG’
‘Croydon is an antisocial muggers’ paradise’
‘I’m not a massive fan of Croydon but West Croydon is the ass hole of it all.Having lived just down the road from Lidl in a tiny flat that was falling apart I’ve seen someone get shot from our living room window across the road and witnessed a stabbing right below our bedroom window. Considering all of my flat mates either took or dealt drugs I had to stay silent.’
‘By far the roughest place I’ve ever been’
‘I lived in Croydon for 34 years so I know how it is just be your self don’t be a target for yourself to get mugged and just don’t stare at people’
‘Chavs everywhere, someone is mugged at least once every, people under age always having sex (Youngest I heard of was a 13-year-old)’
‘The Home Office being there is a magnet for third-worlders, no surprise that it is the way it is’
‘For me Croydon should be up with Peckham and Hackney someone dies there every day due to gang violence and it not a nice place to live’
‘Croydon is the craziest town about in London. Especially an area called Shrublands. In 2012, I went to Shrublands to go to a party. Me and 4 of my mates got robbed gun point. The police need to sort out the crime in Croydon. Very dangerous area.’
‘I got stabbed with a doner knife when I was 16 in Shrublands. Awful area!’