I was sitting on a bench in the grounds of the Parish Church enjoying my sandwiches at lunchtime last Friday when my portable telephone started ringing.
After fumbling around with the phone eventually yours truly managed to answer the call to find it was the Editor of this very site at the other end of the line.
‘Ivor, are you in the town centre?‘ asked the voice at the other end. ‘Of course I am, its lunchtime‘, I replied. The Editor replied ‘Please can you go to Rutland Street and take a picture of the alley leading to West End Street, there has been a robbery in the alley and we need a picture to go on the site.‘
Yours truly was off like a shot, it was lucky that my trusty electric camera was with me.
After nipping through the shopping complex my good self was soon walking up Rutland Street and the entrance to the alley came into sight.
By George! Looking down the alley it was most narrow. In the distance, standing at the end was a person dressed in dark clothing wearing a jacket with the hood up to help conceal their identity.
Walking down that alley would be risky especially with a hooded hoodlum waiting at the other end.
We live in a safety concious age where cars are made as safe as possible and smoking is not allowed in case someone’s health is damaged yet there are several narrow alleys in the town that are the perfect operating environment for robbers, muggers and thieves.
Once someone has started walking down a narrow alley there is very little they can do if assailants strike.
Birdcage Walk, close to the railway station, is another narrow alley where there have been incidents in the past. Another narrow alley leads from London Road to Saffron Road next to the church. In Copyground Lane there is a alley, covered with trees, that leads to Dashwood Avenue.
So how safe it is walking down these narrow alleys? Well, from what I can see it’s not very safe at all. There is no CCTV, nobody to call for help and at night the darkness is usually punctuated by a few sparsely spaced street lights.
Of course in the case of most alleys there is usually another route close using proper roads, utilising the alley may save a few minutes of time walking but the potential risk of being a victim of crime usually outweighs the time and effort saved.
Seeing the narrowness of Rutland Street alley I asked my good self the question ‘What would I do if I were attacked or threatened with a weapon while walking along there?’.
Well, should that situation occur, my immediate thought would be to do a ‘splash down’ on the offender (see video clip below to see what anyone who attacks yours truly is likely to receive in return) after all sometimes being overweight, like my good self, can be an advantage.
If you decide to take a short cut down a narrow alley then perhaps it would be worth carrying out a quick risk assessment first to see if there is a safer alternative route nearby after all nobody wants to be a victim of crime.
What do you think?
*My blogs are published every Tuesday and Friday evening around 8.00pm here on the WycombeToday.com website.