Archway shopkeepers living in fear

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EXCLUSIVE

Islington shop owners have slammed the police for not doing enough to keep them safe, after a near-fatal attack on Holloway Road.

A number of shopkeepers in Archway want a greater police presence in the area, in order to prevent further attacks on high street stores.

Shops on Junction Road near Archway Station
Shops on Junction Road near Archway Station. Photo: Sam Dean

The criticism comes just days after a 35-year-old man was charged with attempted murder and intent to rob after an attack on a shopkeeper on Holloway Road, leaving local retailers feeling vulnerable and exposed.

Mr Warsame, from Archway Communications on Junction Road, said he had been physically attacked twice in 2013, and that there simply aren’t enough police to protect residents and local businesses.

“Last year two men broke into my shop with a pair of scissors,” he said. “They broke the glass, attacked me and robbed me.

“A few weeks later, I was injured when a man ran in, slammed my head down on the counter and threw me into my computer. I had to drop charges on both because there wasn’t enough evidence and the police didn’t see anything.

“It’s not safe. Anyone can come in, take something and run. There aren’t enough policemen and there’s no control.”

The shop owner of a nearby discount store, who wished to remain anonymous, believes thieves steal from him every day.

“I’ve grown used to it, but every day the stock numbers don’t match up. We’ve got CCTV cameras installed but they don’t help.

“We have a real problem and the police don’t do enough. They don’t have a presence here and they need more people walking around.

“I have been one of the lucky ones in that I’ve never had a serious incident but there are so many robberies down this road, particularly at cash machines.

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“The police are never around when you need someone.”

Another shopkeeper, who has lived in the area for more than 12 years, said he has grown  accustomed to spotting potential criminals as soon as they enter his shop.

“There’s a community feel to this area and you get to know your customers. I recognise and know almost everyone I serve, so when someone I don’t know walks in I have to be far more careful.”

The area around Archway Station is notorious for its high crime levels – more than a third of all crime in Junction ward in August occurred within 700 metres of the Underground entrance, according to police statistics.

Of these 60 crimes, a quarter were deemed as violence or sexual offences and there were 17 cases of either robbery, theft, shoplifting or burglary.

The Junction Safer Neighbourhoods team said on its website: “We are dedicated to making your neighbourhood a safer place to live in, work in and visit.”

The Metropolitan Police are yet to comment.