I am scared to live on Smithdown Road

When will it all end?

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My safety on Smithdown has become a genuine concern, especially with the recent saga of tragedies. Somebody being sick outside Bargain Booze or a drunken student flashing in the backyard of the Brookie is to be expected. But with four major incidents in just over a week, I am terrified to walk home.

All news seems to be bad news, and police presence is commonplace in response to what seems to be a never-ending reel of events. The Tab has already reported statistics illustrating how serious the problem of crime is in the area, and it really does feel like a matter of “when”, rather than “if”, I am going to be a victim of crime, or witness a fatal incident.

Burglaries are rife within the area, and we’re sitting ducks with our laptops, gadgets and phones, which are easy to steal and sell. Last semester, The Dales Residents group warned students of a covert agreement between certain taxi drivers and local burglars. Just the thought of drivers – who come across as reliable and friendly – aiding the robbery of your possessions as you boogie the night away at Juicy is unsettling. We live in the middle of a network.

These Langdale residents were ransacked last semester

Although the police are quick to respond to crime within the area, it seems the problem is simply getting too big for them to cope with. The resources and time dedicated to policing Smithdown is not enough. The protection we receive just isn’t sufficient.

Drugs are rife within the area and deals take place in the middle of the streets. Last week heroin was delivered to a student house. Remember the local who invaded a student house? We are being dragged into dangerous dealings.

Drugs aside, break-ins never seem to be prevented, only responded to. Of course it is difficult, and probably near-impossible, to predict what property will be targeted and when, but surely a permanent police presence would at least make burglars think twice before climbing through a window?

The quality of house security definitely doesn’t help either. Most of the housing is run down from wear and tear. It’s inevitable damage will occur after years of housing rowdy, boozy students, but it seems landlords are reluctant to spend the money on maintenance. It is fair to say houses aren’t as break-in-proof as they could, and should, be.

Crime aside, the area itself is a pretty intimidating place to spend your student life. In the daytime, traffic is unbearable with a hoards of buses and taxis causing chaos on the roads. At night, the scene is slightly different. We don’t have law-ignorant taxi drivers to worry about, but I certainly don’t feel safe walking around at night. I find myself looking over my shoulder once too often.

And that’s why I won’t be living there again.