Baseball and metal bars as weapons: Havering residents living in fear

Havering's new borough commander, Jason Gwillim.

Havering's new borough commander, Jason Gwillim. - Credit: Archant

Baseball bats, walking sticks and metal bars are just some of the items being kept as impromptu “weapons” by Havering householders living in fear they may become victims of a break-in.

The Recorder asked its social media followers whether they kept items to protect themselves and their property against intruders, following a startling survey which claims more than half of Londoners keep a weapon handy at home.

Nikki Kerr said on the Recorder’s Facebook page: “I always keep a baseball bat or a metal bar near my bed and by the door. Sorry, but if you enter my place uninvited then expect the unexpected.”

Carol Fleming added: “I always keep a walking stick handy and would use it to defend myself.”

Others suggested dogs act as a good deterrent, or if you lack a pet, a “beware of the dog” sign works well too.

The capital’s adults feel nervous particularly when home alone, the poll of 2,000 adults by security firm ADT found.

Kimberley Fraser said on Facebook: “When my husband is away I’ve taken a weapon to the bedroom just in case. It gives me peace of mind.”

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Others did not go to such lengths but did empathise.

Raymond Preedy said: “I personally do not have any weapons where I live but I can understand someone’s right to have them just in case.

“A man has the right to defend his home, wife and children, or indeed to defend himself.

“It’s a nasty world out there and people carry weapons in the street.”

The survey found that Londoners generally would also use umbrellas, golf clubs or frying pans in defence.

However, the results “surprised” Havering’s borough commander Jason Gwillim.

He said: “I question its accuracy from one of the safest boroughs in London.”

Havering has lower rates of crimes compared to other boroughs. It is ranked 25/32 boroughs for total number of crimes in 2012/13 according to Met statistics but ranks 20/32 for the “fear of crime”.