People living and working in West Ealing are calling on the Metropolitan Police and Ealing Council to up patrols and take action to combat what they say has been a growing rise in anti-social behaviour including aggressive begging, drug taking and dealing in public as well as theft from shops.
As a result of increased theft and anti-social behaviour, it is causing retailers to not just limit their stock on display but also consider their future at the once popular shopping area.
Over recent years high street retailers have deserted the area along with banks and building societies.
Today there are numerous empty shops along with a rise in people coming to the area to steal as well as cause anti-social behaviour similar to what residents say has been happening in nearby Hanwell Broadway for years.
Boots, which is one of the few national brands to remain in West Ealing, limits stock on display due to the rise in theft.
One member of staff commented to EALING.NEWS that even they don’t know how long they will remain in the area and fear that due to theft and downturn in people visiting the area, the branch may also shut down.
They said: “Boots are closing branches across the country. They are shutting Acton in August. I fear it could also happen here as the area doesn’t exactly encourage people to want to come and visit.”
Trying to take money out of the only free to use ATM on Uxbridge Road is stressful say locals. Located by the Post Office and next door to recently closed down Wenzels, locals say they fear withdrawing money due to the rise of anti-social behaviour including aggressive begging that goes on.
Speaking to EALING.NEWS, one local said: “The area has gotten worse and worse. The drug addicts and beggars seem to also now be moving from Hanwell Broadway to here and are causing anti-social behaviour that they just get away with. They come up to you when withdrawing cash from the machine and it gets scary at times.”
Speaking to EALING.NEWS, Rory Geoghegan, founder of The Public Safety Foundation said: “We’ve heard very clearly from local residents in our own survey and interviews that they want to see the police and council take steps to fight crime and disorder, and get the area back on a positive path. Our own observations reveal blatant drug dealing, drug use, theft and anti-social behaviour that is amenable to improvement through common sense policing and work from the council.”
In June this year, popular bakery Wenzels added to the list of shops closing due to the increase in anti-social behaviour which included thefts from its shop as well as aggressive behaviour towards them.
At the time a member of staff working at the shop told EALING.NEWS: “The area has been in such a decline over recent years and with people coming in and nicking stock, it really is getting out of hand. It doesn’t feel safe to run a shop in West Ealing.”
They added: “Nothing is being done to improve the area and it’s become a magnet for thieves coming into shops here in West Ealing and stealing goods.”
Locals have also raised their concerns to help draw attention to the issue and are worried by what they see including drug dealing and taking drugs in public as well as stealing.
— @OaklandsRoadW7 (@oaklandsrdw7) June 3, 2023
Wenzel bakery, West Ealing closed by thieves & thugs. Word is Gregg's may soon follow. Boots gets 'hit,' numerous times a day. Went in today; many shelves sparsely populated. Grim- faced security guard on the door. Gives the appearance that it too is heading for closure. pic.twitter.com/9HraPGirP0
— Chris Hobbs (@obbsie) June 12, 2023
One shopkeeper who has had a business for a number of years says this year may be his last. He told EALING.NEWS: “There doesn’t seem to be any care or love shown to West Ealing by the council and without that, you end up like how it is now. What is the council doing to help us and encourage people to shop locally here?”
They added: “You also don’t see much in the way of police or enforcement and as a result you end up with how West Ealing is now. It’s not safe as it should be.”
Speaking to EALING.NEWS, Metropolitan Police Acting Inspector Dinkesh Patel said: “The Ealing Safer Neighbourhoods Team strive to deliver ward priorities for all of Ealing residents; the Metropolitan Police Service will actively investigate crimes reported and complaints made by members of the public.”
Acting Inspector Patel added: “Safer Neighbourhoods Teams, right across West Area BCU regularly conduct pro-active and re-active patrols along with many pre-planned operations.”
Addressing concerns regarding Hanwell Broadway which are similar to what is happening in West Ealing, an Ealing Council spokesperson told EALING.NEWS last month: “The council is aware of concerns regarding persistent ASB in and around Hanwell, and the distress that this is causing some residents. The council has invested significant time and resource in acting on the issues residents have raised, including issuing community protection warnings, civil injunctions, and licensing enforcement to tackle behaviours such as street drinking.”