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Friday, 12 July, 2002, 13:39 GMT 14:39 UK
'I was attacked by five youths'
Police tape
The police failed to catch Jason Field's attackers
As new crime figures reveal street robberies have soared, BBC News Online speaks to a mugging victim about his ordeal.

Jason Field and his girlfriend were returning home to Clapham in south London last September when they were attacked by five male youths.

The couple had just got off a night bus at 12.45am and were walking past Clapham North tube when they passed the group.

Nothing was said, but a few seconds later the gang ran after the couple and grabbed them.

Two youths held Mr Field's girlfriend and tried to snatch her handbag. Another two started to kick and punch him while a third held him so he could not fight back.


I've travelled through South America, where you are told to be aware of personal safety, but I felt much safer there than I do in Clapham

Jason Field
When his girlfriend saw he was being attacked she let go of her bag, which contained 150 in cash, and the two youths holding her ran off.

The others continued to attack Mr Field and tried to get his bag.

They only ran off when a passer-by intervened and started to hit out at the youths.

"I was bruised and shaken but things could have been a lot worse if that stranger hadn't stepped in," he said.

"My girlfriend was really upset by the whole thing. She was only visiting London and was horrified."

Mr Field says he has not felt safe in the area since the attack and it has prompted him to change his behaviour.

"I haven't got a night bus since and after midnight I always get a taxi," he told BBC News Online.

'Hotspot'

"I always seem to go past forlorn people talking to the police. It is an awful place. The area seems to be a hotspot for muggings. "

The latest crime figures back up Mr Field's observations.

According to the statistics, the London borough of Lambeth - which includes Clapham - is the worst robbery blackspot in England and Wales.

The 33-year-old had only lived in the area for a month when the attack happened and says he does not know if it has always been bad for muggings.

But it was the first time he had been a victim of crime in his 10 years living in London.

"I have lived in the capital for years, mainly in north London. Nothing like this had happened to me before, but within a month of moving to south London I was attacked," he said.

'Pointless'

He reported the incident to the police but the muggers were never found.

"The police were good," he said.

"They arrived within minutes of the attack. They took me and my girlfriend in different police vans to see if we could see the youths.

"But it was a bit of a pointless exercise because we knew they had ran off into a nearby housing estate and it would impossible to find them in there."

Mr Field is now looking to move from the area.

"I've travelled through South America, where you are told to be aware of personal safety, but I felt much safer there than I do in Clapham," he said.

 VOTE RESULTS
Do you feel less safe?

Yes
 68.19% 

No
 31.81% 

3908 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion


Key stories

Analysis

FORUM

TALKING POINT

CRIME PREVENTION
See also:

12 Jul 02 | Politics
04 Jan 02 | England
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