International Writers Magazine:UK
As a result pensioners
live in constant fear during twilight hours, prisoners of their own area
so to speak.
being a calm and peaceful town of seclusion during the day, Abbots
Langley of Hertfordshire has had growing problems of division over
the years. Originally it used to be heavily weighted towards being
a senior citizen middle class society. However due to baby boom
some twenty years ago the once tranquil place of rest has twisted
into a teenage asbo zone.
Both pensioners and teenagers share a row of shops more commonly known
to them as the high street. During the day the older society
rule, queuing at ridiculously early hours for the post office to enjoying
relaxed lunch at the snack bar. This short lived paradise though ends
sharply towards school finishing times.
Suddenly between the hours of three and four the high street
becomes a ghost town. Majority of shops shut, frightened residents hurry
home and an eerie silence falls. It is only a matter of hours before rowdy
teenagers and bike gangs will then take over the area. Suffering from
underage drinking and smoking, they terrorise shops and any innocent victim
who dares to venture out later. Verbal abuse would let them off lightly,
the odd stone thrown maybe, but if youre an easy target you're most
likely to become victim to theft, physical assault and humiliation.
Age division isnt the only form of problems within the borders of
Abbots Langley. Immigrants have found Hertfordshires towns to be
a good place to live at first glance. Whilst a multicultural society is
beneficial to the area, growing numbers of Asian familys are occurring
in segregation within Abbots Langley. Whether their isolated aggregation
is by choice or not, the result occurs in another division. Now there
are white teenage gangs, racism was only a matter of time, once it became
multicultural. In extreme circumstances, petrol bombs and destroyed houses
are among some of the prejudiced attacks in the area and many Pakistani
family run shops have now closed down out of fear.
The more important question is what has been done to reduce this ever
growing crime rate. An old police centre has been re-opened and Community
Police Officers, C.P.Os , have been situated on the streets. This
has taken the edge off most the violence, but the majority still remains.
Whilst the council are upping the standards of the police force they are
also constantly building council houses in the area and possibly there
is a striking correlation in the number of council houses being built,
and the size of the divisions and violence in the town.
Age, race and class are the divides in Abbots Langley. What once was a
town that had high standards and tranquillity, has now become a town terrorised
by its own teenagers or by its prejudice feelings of class and race. This
is my home town.
© Michael Luzanycia November 2007
sun_shooter_shadow at hotmail.com
Some of the facts about life here:
Abbots Langley crime statistics - Number of households 35,000
Sources: 2006 Figures: Hertfordshire Police
Theft of a motor vehicle 249
Theft from a motor vehicle 706
Sexual offences 48
Violence against a person 942
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