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Indian community​ frightened after sharp increase in targeted burglaries

PUBLISHED: 16:37 13 December 2017 | UPDATED: 17:03 13 December 2017

Bhaven Pathak.

Bhaven Pathak.

Archant

Residents in Bexley are deeply concerned about a spike in burglaries in the borough that appears to be specifically targeting the small Indian community.

According to current publicly available Metropolitan police statistics, there were 6,077 burglaries in November 2016. While in October this year, the latest month for figures, it rose to 6,716, which is a little over a 10per cent increase.

Worryingly, the Indian community claims almost a third of those attacks are on their properties.

Bhaven Pathak represents the Devasya Foundation, a local Indian community services group.

As a local spokesman for the Asian Indian Community, he said they are worried as they make up only three per cent of residents in the borough.

He said: “There is a perception Indians have more gold, so you are more likely to succeed with your burglary. Rather than the odd laptop and loose change, if you can get gold you are going to get a much higher taking.

“And this is a persistent issue. It is not just our borough where this is happening, it is happening all over.

“But clearly this is an increasing trend and so we are trying to raise awareness and make people take a bit more notice beyond the obvious closing doors and windows and having alarms.

“The community is really, really frightened.

“There is deep fear - everyone knows someone who has been burgled.”

There was a hastily organised meeting between the police and leaders of the Asian Indian community to discuss the apparent worrying trend.

Armed with more up to date figures, he said: “The meeting was to discuss the significant increase in the number of residential burglaries in Bexley this year.

“Compared to November 2016, burglaries in Bexley are far higher in November 2017.

“And yet, more than 30 per cent of those residential burglaries have been targeted at the Asian Indian community, although they comprise around three per cent of the Bexley community. Clearly, this is disproportionate and has the community gripped by fear and insecurity.”

He said the community organised an open, public meeting at Danson Centre in Bexleyheath with the police to discuss this issue.

The agenda included a police presentation, talks from the neighbourhood watch team followed by a question and answer session.

At the meeting Bhaven Pathak said: “We have a right to live peacefully and without fear. The rate at which burglaries are increasing in Bexley is shocking and it is unacceptable that our community continues to be targeted. Our community has shown strong unity to come together to ensure that the police and councillors take this matter seriously.”

No one from the police was available for comment.

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