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The International Writers Magazine:UK Today

Abbots Langley
Michael Luzanycia

Whilst 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.
As a result pensioners live in constant fear during twilight hours, prisoners of their own area so to speak.
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 you’re an easy target you're most likely to become victim to theft, physical assault and humiliation.

Age division isn’t the only form of problems within the borders of Abbots Langley. Immigrants have found Hertfordshire’s towns to be a good place to live at first glance. Whilst a multicultural society is beneficial to the area, growing numbers of Asian family’s 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.O’s , 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
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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
Burglary 387

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