London’s Victorian Squares are home to some of the most elegant and sought-after properties in the capital. But they can also attract anti-social behaviour too.
We were contacted by the Alchemi Group, an award-winning, privately owned, acquisition and development management company, who were in the process of restoring six of the Grade II listed buildings back to their former glory. They told us about the groups of people hanging around the area near their development at night, making a noise, using drugs, urinating and littering, which was negatively affecting the neighbours.
With the properties worth millions once they were completed, it was imperative the area felt clean and safe for prospective buyers. In addition, the developer wanted to keep owners of the neighbouring properties ‘onside’ as the building work progressed.
A visual deterrant
“Alchemi has used us before,” said Leigh Hooper, Clearway’s Head of Sales who handled the project, “and they know we provide good value and a professional service.”
We recommended a dog unit (security guard with dog) patrol the area to provide a highly visible proactive deterrent. And, as there were no welfare facilities on site, the dog unit had to be self-contained i.e. operating out of their own vehicle.
Our dog unit worked every night patrolling the square to discourage anti-social behaviour. The visual deterrent was extremely successful and had an immediate and positive impact on the area.
In the first few days we were on site, our security officer, dealt with heavy drinkers, drug users and kids on mopeds congregating outside the development and creating a disturbance. Our officer approached them and politely asked them to move-on or keep the noise down.
On every occasion they complied with his request without any confrontation escalating. After a few days, the officer noted that when he arrived on site, occasionally people were there but they quickly moved away as soon as they saw his vehicle approaching.
What’s been particularly positive, is that the presence of a guard with a dog has been seen by the neighbours as a public service.
“On several occasions, our officer has spoken to a resident walking her dog, who said how pleased she was to have him there,” said Leigh. “She went on to say how the street drinkers and drug users had made this beautiful quiet square an undesirable place to be but, with our officer on site, it had restored her faith in the community.”
As a result of our ongoing service there was significantly less noise, less litter and less anti-social behaviours noted. And the client was thrilled too. “Clearly the guard’s presence is having the right impact – and it’s much appreciated.”
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