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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Every time I visit Harringay's Grand Parade, at the end of my road (hard to avoid) I get approached by beggars, some of whom can be very determined and aggressive.

One followed me some way today screaming at me to give him £2. Others sit passively by the roadside and bleat after you as you pass by.

Now I know begging is illegal but there seem to be no efforts by the police to combat it. There are CCTV cameras all over the place, but they all seem to ignore begging, which is just as much a crime as running a red light or parking in a bus lane. I honestly feel threatened.

For many years I've praised Green Lanes (I've lived here for thirty years) and Harringay as an example of multi-ethnic culture, but now I'm about ready to move out.

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It's a tough one if you feel genuinely threatened. Fortunately I don't feel threatened as you do.

I haven't thought through the policy issues associated with this. So I'll keep my own counsel. 

Have you thought about having a word with the St Ann's neighbourhood Police? 

You can add comments on the police neighbourhood page for St Ann's. Alternatively they do run drop-in surgeries in local cafes and other venues. 

It's also worth getting in touch with the Garden's Residents' Association who have an establised relationship with the police and no doubt raise this issue with them. 

Part of feeling threatened is that I think if I take any counter-moves such as threatening to call the police it may escalate the situation and provoke violence (and it would be a threate I wouldn't be able to carry out,m since I don't carry a mobile phone). My son has been stabbed once up in the vicinity of Turnpike Lane station, and I think we are all aware of the growing amount of knife crime in his and other areas of the city. To be fair (!) I accept that most beggars will simply accept a simple no, but some now seem to be getting more determined not to take no for an answer.

And you may well lose the phone, if you have one :-)

I somehow think that taking a self-defence class would mean the intimidators have won.

Well the intimidators are not going to go away. But the problem with self-defence classes is that the baddies are going to be faster and more determined than you and less worried about the outcome.

Whereas I am 72 years old and very frail.How would you suggest I defend myself?

Ah, the arrogance of youth Graham.

If LJD survives to our age, she may then understand how advancing years rob us of strength and speed of reaction. Being attacked in the street is very different to the situation in the gym or dojo where you EXPECT an attack. In the street your first reaction is " This can't be happening to me "

Then it's " Dammit, what was it I was supposed to do ? "

You shouldn't have to. You should be able to wander the streets at any time unmolested and safe.

It's an issue everywhere in London. I was sitting outside a coffee shop in Vauxhall yesterday, directly opposite the MI5 building and I was approached by 2 separate individuals in less than 10 minutes asking for money/cigarettes etc. I travelled around the US in the mid 90's using their bus network and I was shocked at the amount of begging going on, or pan handling as they call it, but it's now no different here. To be honest the older I'm getting the more I'm disliking living in London. 

I'm sorry to hear you are personally being inconvenienced by poverty and homelessness. Try to do something about it instead of blaming the victims? 

He said " threatened ", not " inconvenienced ".

You are missing his point. I've had a couple of issues, one outside Morrisons last year, when one started insulting me and getting aggressive because I didn't give him money. The other, a couple of months ago when I was walking by WG station and a regular one in that corner spat on his hand and then came and rubbed it on my face, then he laughed. It wasn't pleasant, but I just ignored him. Generally they mind their own business and it's v sad to see them in that situation, and are totally harmless (unless they've had too much to drink)....



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