Fatal Gillett Square shooting shines spotlight on crime hotspot
- Credit: Robert Beckford
A Dalston jazz club director has spoken out about ongoing issues with drug dealing and violent crime following a fatal shooting in Gillett Square.
Robert Beckford says he had already left Hackney's Vortex Jazz Club minutes before the shooting of 31-year-old Patrick Anzy, just before 1am on May 8.
The director, whose Bradbury Street club is situated around the corner from the square, says the "sad" shooting is a predictable consequence of long-standing issues in the area.
He also blames "archaic drug laws" for driving and trapping people into criminality.
"This situation is not something that just occurred over night," Mr Beckford said.
"It's something that has been going on for 10, maybe 15 years."
The director reports substance abuse, drug dealing and theft as daily occurrences - leaving Bradbury Street tenant's "trading in fear".
He believes the anti-social behaviour is fuelling violence in the area, adding: "There have been several stabbings and lots of knives found in the square. [Recently] somebody went inside the butchers, grabbed a knife and an axe and was fighting on a street nearby."
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Met Police data confirms the area as a crime hotspot with 106 out of the 217 crimes reported in Dalston in March this year occurring in the wider locality. Sixty of which took place in the immediate vicinity of Gillett Square.
Hackney's community safety chief, Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas says concerns like Mr Beckford's are being taken "very seriously" and that a "range of measures" have been introduced to tackle problems in the square.
These include increasing council and police patrols, more drug and weapon sweeps and carrying out drug and alcohol outreach work to support people with addictions.
The councillor added: "We will continue to actively listen to residents, businesses and visitors to address issues around crime and community safety."
Ch Insp Chris Scammell, from the Central East’s Neighbourhoods team, added: "The safety of those who live and work in the area matters to us and we understand issues like violent crime, drug offences and anti-social behaviour are a real source of worry, which is why we’re making efforts to target those who make our community unsafe."
Anyone with information or any witnesses to the shooting are urged to call 101, reference CAD 412/08may. To remain anonymous, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.