The perception that crime is getting worse in London has started to affect homeowners, says Jack Mann, chief executive of private security company Alma-Risk. “It’s not a secret that there has been a decrease in police funding,” he says. “And with the decrease in access to state-funded security, people are taking their security into their own hands.” Last year, former Met officers David McKelvey and Tony Nash founded My Local Bobby, which offers security services for as little as £50 a month. Marc Schneiderman, director of estate agent Arlington Residential, says security is the number one priority for his buyers.
The reputational damage of a high crime rate — coupled with the increased threat of global terrorism following attacks last year in London and Manchester — has also increased jitters in the international business community. Jonathon Keymer is a senior intelligence manager at WorldAware, a risk assessment company used by global insurers to assess relative safety when underwriting accident and health policies. “A lot of my job is talking people down from panic,” he says. “What they’re seeing is [TV comedian] Michael McIntyre has been robbed by a moped gang. So they suddenly think moped gangs are rife in London, and they’re not. It just happens. And it happens in just about every western city.”