London E5 – the next ‘most desirable address in London’, or still Murder Central? For more than a decade, the streets around the outwardly unlovely Clapton Rd (Upper and Lower) have had a reputation even worse than its snaggle-toothed strip of down-at-heel takeaways, pond shops and other hard scrabble retail joints might suggest.

Of course, the borough of Hackney prides itself as being a very ‘right-on’ place to live. It has a high profile MP, and estate agents work night and day to suggest that it is full of ‘must-visit’ eateries and cafes, where slim chaps of a certain age are keen to be seen, alongside what the Hackney Post describes as “Macbook-tapping, gourmet coffee-swilling hipsters.”

Clapton Road

The area has a lamentable history for violence. Just four of those killed in recent years are pictured below, left to right:

Clapton Murders

Prince Joseph Burke Monerville: On 16th February 2013, the 19 year-old was sitting in a car with his brothers, in Hindry Road, Clapton. Shots were fired into the car, and the teenager died after being taken to hospital. Scott Andrews, 27, and Roshane Reid, 20, from Hackney, were charged with the murder of Joseph Burke-Monerville and two counts of attempted murder, but later acquitted through lack of evidence.

Moses Fadairo: He was shot dead on 26th September 2015, in broad daylight, outside a butcher’s shop in Chatsworth Road. Christopher Erunse, 28, of Chalcombe Road in Greenwich, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for shooting the 25-year-old young father. His accomplice, Bradley Wynter, 28, of the Pembury Estate in Clapton, was jailed for five years for possession of a gun.

Jeremie Malenge: On 6th January 2015, the young man was lured to his death by a gang of youngsters, one of whom was just 14 years-old. He was stabbed to death in Ponsford Street. The ring-leader of the murder plot was Tariq William-Dawodu of Woodford. A young woman, Sanaa Sayed Ibrahim provided the sexual element in this killing, and she was the bait to trap Malenge. These two, plus Tre Morgan, and the 14 year-old, who was never named, were sentenced to a total sixty years in jail for the killing.

Mehmet Degirli: On Wednesday 8th June, 2016, the beaten and lifeless body of the Turkish father of two children was found in a car park. 20 year-old Mustafa Alparslan and Huseyin Akkoyun, aged 46, have been charged with Mr Degirli’s murder.

Crime mapIf you are a law-abiding person who stays away from dubious places after dark, and you have a good security system in your home, Hackney is probably a safe place to live. Provided, however, you are prepared to take your chances when out shopping, or otherwise about your lawful business. If you are a writer or artist who likes the kudos of having an address in a place which is seen as rather dangerous, and ‘cutting edge’ (literally) then your aspirations will be fulfilled. If you’re an estate agent who is selling the area as a vibrant, safe and stimulating place to bring up a family, then best of luck with that one.

You can always type in the postcode on Police Crime Maps to see what the Metropolitan Police say is the current state of play. The live website can be accessed here, and here (left) is a graphic of what you might find. The numbers in the circles show all reported crimes for May 2016.