A group of east London residents left frustrated by an escalation in drug-related crime in their neighborhood have created road signs such as “Crack pickup point” in an attempt to shame the Met Police into taking action.
A group of anonymous street artists have installed six signs on lampposts and have painted a vehicle parking bay marked “Drug dealers only” after being commissioned by Weavers Community Action Group from Tower Hamlets, east London, reports the Telegraph.
The guerrilla street artists known as the Columbia Road Cartel, who were asked by the Action Group to help highlight the spiraling crime levels around Columbia Road, near Shoreditch, have created fake signs that read “Give way to oncoming drug deals,” “Needle free zone,” “Crack pickup point,” and parking bays labeled “Drug dealers only.”
Residents who commissioned the artwork say they did so in response to what they see as police inaction towards “brazen drug dealing” that takes place “24 hours a day” on their streets.
Penny Creed, a local resident who shared the images, tweeted: “Local street artists trying to embarrass the @metpoliceuk and @TowerHamletsNow into doing something about the brazen drug dealing in my neighborhood #columbiaroad #asb.”
Another resident, Jonathan Moberly, said: “One corner of our street is used as a drug collection point 24 hours a day. Heroin and crack addicts gather in small groups waiting for deliveries which arrive by speeding car.
“It is barely possible to avoid walking around or through these gatherings when leaving or returning home. Six months ago, my stepson Jake was victim of a hit-and-run by one of the dealers.
“His ankle was badly smashed, and he is still unable to return to work. The authorities seem to be powerless or uninterested to act,” he said.
The Weavers Community Action Group claims to have in the region of 70 members. According to the Evening Standard, the group was formed in April in response to “open trading in hard and dangerous drugs,” which it claims have become “a normal part of daily life” around Columbia Road.
Metropolitan Police crime data illustrate that the number of arrests in Tower Hamlets has declined since July 2013, with 3,011 arrests between July 2013-2014, compared to 1,842 arrests between July 2017-2018.
A spokesman for the Met Police said: “We have been made aware of a guerilla art campaign which has appeared in and around Columbia Road, Tower Hamlets, against drug-dealing in the area.
“Officers in Tower Hamlets are working hard to tackle drugs offences to make the streets hostile territory for criminals.
“Local officers are fully engaged with partners and have a rolling program of enforcement activities that target those identified as selling drugs,” the spokesman said.