Regular meetings have been held with the local Police during the year and together we have flagged the issues that are of greatest concern to our residents and commercial businesses.
An issue impacting on us all is the presence of an increasing number of beggars who are on the streets across Marylebone. These people seem for the most part to be from Eastern Europe and beyond. Many of them appear to be professionally organised and some are young, healthy and appear able to hold gainful employment. We have had reports of paper money and coins being donated and thousands of pounds transferred to the beggars’ countries of origin each month. The police know of the problem but their hands are tied by EU laws. It is advisable not to give money directly to people on the streets but to donate to one of the several charities and hostels in the area who provide help to the homeless.
Rough sleeping is a significant issue to residents as it brings with it dirt, litter and unsanitary conditions. The police have issued ASBOs to offenders but again their hands are tied.
We are fortunate that in Marylebone there is little reported serious crime and other crime is not increasing overall. However, the victims of any form of theft consider their privacy to have been invaded and the pain of their loss can last a long time. This can be avoided by not leaving windows and doors ajar, handbags and shopping bags open and expensive mobile phones on display.
Many cars, especially in car parks or on the side streets, e.g. Manchester Square, are obvious targets for thieves when valuables and shopping are left on vehicles’ back seats. Criminals no longer need keys to break into vehicles as the modern electronic locks can be opened in other ways. Motor bikes are not safe from theft either. A number of bikes have been removed from our area by thieves who simply lift them into their vans and drive away.