This BBC story did the rounds on Twitter a couple of days ago:
“It is very scary,” says mother-of-four Melanie Smith, sitting on the sofa which doubles as her bed, a few feet from the oven and sink of her one-room studio.
Pressed close to her couch is one of the two beds that fill the rest of her flat and upon which her two sons eat, play and sleep.
Ms Smith is one of hundreds of residents placed at Terminus House in Harlow by councils in and around London, often many miles from everything and everybody they once knew.
The former office block – the Essex town’s tallest building – is one of hundreds up and down England which have been turned into housing without ever needing planning permission.
Almost everybody thought this was an example of appalling government housing policy, and did the usual thing of blaming heartless Tories. But while living in a tiny flat may be uncomfortable, there’s no reason why it should be deeply unpleasant. I’ve been to enough Soviet-era Russian apartments to know that’s true. What makes them unpleasant is this:
But since the building was resurrected as a housing complex in April 2018, crime has soared.
Police figures show that in the first 10 months after people moved in, crime within Terminus House itself rose by 45%, and within that part of the town centre (within a 500m radius) by nearly 20% – to more than 500 incidents – compared with the previous 10 months. More than 100 incidents involved violence or sex crimes.
Incidents included anti-social behaviour, burglary, criminal damage and arson. There has also been at least one drugs raid.
She said it was not safe for her children to go downstairs, even during the day, because of drug users who are “out of it”.
“It is very scary. You don’t know who is outside the door,” she said.
“Any arguments that happen, it is always, constantly, outside the door. Often you hear them banging against the door where they are fighting.
“The wall next to me – I had to clean the blood off it two weeks ago.”
It doesn’t matter where you go in Britain, areas where there are a lot of poor people or welfare recipients are plagued by a minority of anti-social scumbags most of whom are career criminals and many of them violent. It wouldn’t matter if the poor were housed in luxury flats in Canary Wharf if this element is not dealt with. Now I don’t know how you can deal with anti-social people making everyone’s life a living hell without giving governments appalling arbitrary powers, but I do know that any initiative to tackle the problem – withdrawing welfare payments, harsher prison sentences, exile to the hinterlands – would be fiercely resisted by those now bawling at the situation the residents find themselves in.
The fact is British people are far too lenient when it comes to scumbags, and insist on subsidising their criminal lifestyles via a generous welfare system. So long as an industry exists to support and defend these people as they terrorise their neighbours, there’s not a housing policy in the world that can provide safe homes for the poor.
And isn’t this just typical:
Terminus House is covered by nearly 100 high definition CCTV cameras.
“We just want to make sure that all the areas are covered,” says Paul Jackson, regional manager at Caridon Property, which owns and runs the building.
“We do have some people that are vulnerable and it makes them feel safe. And should there be any incidents then they are covered and the police can use our system.”
The police can’t be bothered keeping law and order, probably because they know the court system won’t prosecute miscreants. So it falls to the building management to install that great British catch-all solution – more CCTV cameras – to enable the police to identify who battered that old lady half to death a few days after the incident. Politicians, the justice system, the police, and just about everyone else has utterly failed the poor. This whole story has little to do with housing, but by pretending it does the middle classes can virtue-signal while avoiding any discussion of the real problem.