We were asked to help the Metropolitan Police with their enquiries.
It went along these lines; a local nightclub is making an unholy row and the residents living close by have objected and want it closed down.
Two things sprang to mind – the residents had decided what the problem was (the nightclub was too noisy) and what the solution was. (Close the club down).
Both a little unfair, as they were both wrong.
The problem was not that the nightclub was being noisy – it was the patrons leaving the nightclub at the end of the night that were being noisy.
So the solution to the problem was to quieten the people as they leave at 2 in the morning.
As everyone left the nightclub Stevyn suggested the door staff handed everyone a small bottle of water – this helped sober them up. And they also handed lollipops – the sugar in this also helped sober them up and obviously kept their mouth too busy to make too much noise.
The noise was reduced. The complaints stopped. The nightclub remained open.
A local east-end park had a problem - too many bums on seats.
Residents of the area surrounding the park were complaining that homeless people were using the benches to sleep on and they had nowhere to sit if they wanted to use the park.
Now you can’t ‘ban’ the homeless from the park.
And to remove the benches would spoil everyone’s enjoyment.
The solution was relatively simple – small divides prevented people from lying on the benches but didn’t prevent them from being sat upon – sometimes the simplest solutions cure the seemingly most complex problems.
A local housing estate on the edge of town had a problem. It was rough.
Gangs of kids and their dogs hanging around, intimidating other residents.
There were fights. There were muggings. The air of aggression and intimidation meant everyone kept themselves to themselves, which only caused to fuel suspicion and fear.
As the downward spiral continued, the older folk became too scared to venture out - even to walk their dogs.
Stevyn noticed that dogs provided a common bond between both sides. “I know. Let’s put a dog show on in the middle of the estate.”
We thought he was barking mad.
But that’s what happened.
The grannies with their poodles and the ‘yoof’ with their Staffordshire Bull Terriers had one thing in common – they loved their dogs. They were proud of their dogs. They wanted to show off their dogs.
And so, the annual dog show in the middle of the housing estate brings the community together and when you have a community that knows one-another you look out for each other; you care about each other and you certainly don’t fight or mug someone you care about.
This housing estate is now a much nicer, safer place to be.
In one small part of West London, burglaries were up - a sudden spike that couldn’t, at first, be explained.
But there was a pattern.
The burglaries happened when the homeowners were at work. On Tuesday.
Not Wednesday. Not Friday.
A bit of simple research revealed why Tuesday was different to Wednesday or Friday (or Monday or Thursday for that matter.)
Tuesday was ‘bin day’.
Every Tuesday the dustbin men came round emptying the bins and not putting them back where they were normally kept – the people who weren’t at work put their own bins back where they should be – the other bins served as a neon light to burglars that there was ‘no one at home’.
A little social campaign encouraging neighbourly love and bin repositioning stopped the ambient advertising campaign that was attracting burglars.