Crime levels across the three Thornton Heath wards have been crazy during Covid and continue to soar.
The officer overseeing policing in Thornton Heath, West Thornton and Bensham Manor said conversations with some residents about the virus ’blew his mind’ because they didn’t ‘give a hoot about Covid.”
At the Thornton Heath SNT ward panel meeting police sergeant Andy Smith explained how it was difficult to assess the crime stats until comparing them with this next years figures as this had been an ‘incredibly bizarre’ few months.
High numbers of Houses of Multiple Occupancy with a dense population and distrust in the police and government had contributed to spikes in ASB and domestic violence exacerbated by lockdown said PC Huw Davies.
The national trend saw a decrease in crimes but in Thornton Heath police were inundated with ASB complaints about neighbour disputes, smoking cannabis or breaching Covid regulations.
In Thornton Heath ward in April and May crime was up by over 50 per cent with anti social behaviour, violence and car break ins at their worst. In June it was still 43 per higher than previous year’s figures but by July had returned to some normality with just five more crime than the same month in 2019. However August 2020 was higher than in 2019 again due to ASB.
In West Thornton crime has continued to rise steadily with 340 reports in July compared to 207 in 2019 and in August 355 (2019- 231) with a third of crimes ASB and coupled with high car crime.
In Bensham Manor crime doubled in April and has consistently been higher each month since, compared to same months in 2019.
Speaking at September’s ward panel Sgt Smith said the Covid crimewave was all happening while officers were having to juggle ongoing serious issues and with limited resources, officers were forever ‘playing catch up.’
Sgt Andy Smith said he had been posted to Covid patrols across London and it was “surprising how much residents of Thornton Heath just didn’t give a hoot about the law or about the regulations. He said: “The conversations I had with some people blew my mind.
“They just didn’t care or believe Covid existed or said ‘well it won’t effect me’ actually it ‘definitely’ will because people have died on this road from this infection or it’s Bill Gates’ fault. Those kind of conversations you can’t win. That doesn’t speak entirely for the whole population of Thornton Heath but it definitely speaks for a chunk of it .”