I have often wondered myself why in a lot of these cases the description of the attackers is not given.
I think there are two reasons.
Firstly if the police were looking for potential witnesses then the witnesses would not need to be told the description of the attackers. It could be said that by given an accurate description by the police before hand could prejudice the quality of the witness's evidence.
Secondly I think that the police withhold this information, because in some cases it would be deemed as politically incorrect to release it.
I havve lived in SE1 over 15 years and grew up in the country. I have personally always felt relatively safe in Se1 and there are only a few places that I would avoid if alone at night. My only experience of problem with agressive neighbours has been in Suffolk and my kids have been in threatened by another child with a knife in a small village in kent and not on the streets of SE1 nor do they have any friends or know anyone person that carries a weapon to their knowledge. I think that sadly attacks do happen and the density of the population in inner cities make it appear to be more frequent but per head of population I wonder if these attacks are really any more common here than other parts of the country.
I think the fear of attacks is so great because of the degree to which they are reported. Afterall I only know these two attacks have happened because I have read them on the internet. My mother tells tales of when she worked in London in the 50s of it being normal to be gropped on the over crowded tubes and my father use to feel the need to have a make shift weapon for personal protection in case of attack on a saturday nights. I don't think he was ever attacked but clearly even then he felt threatened . I certainly have never felt the need to arm myself even when out and about at night. I think it is important to keep things in perspective Some good advise has been posted here be alert to your surrounding, don't take unessesary risks and don't be over intimidaded by the persieved threat of violence.
As for SE1 I feel as safe now as I did when I first moved here and in certain parts even safer
I agree with most of these postings- a lot of it is about common sense and not taking risks. For example, I would never go under the subway at E&C at night, and I am always very alert to the people around me. I love living at MCH because I feel so safe there- well lit, always lots of people around and of course, we have security.
The only times (touchwood) anything has happened to me was outside my parents house in Hampstead of all places, when a guy followed me and then flashed (!), and when I was pushed down the stairs one lunchtime in the subway under Charing Cross Station, and had my wallet stolen.
I guess what I'm saying is that this kind of thing can happen anywhere and anytime in a big city like London, often randomly, and the best thing you can do is not take unnecessary risks.
Note I did not mean to alarm anyone with my posting, I just want everyone to be safe. I am not advocating walking around like a John Rambo or being Paranoid but getting a friend to walk with you if you feel unsafe or being practical about things is wise.
Perceived threats to people and property constantly increases as some other SE1rs have pointed out because of the media featuring sensational cases.
There were a spate of attacks by our block of flats just off tooley street a few months ago and i spoke to the crime protection officer about it. He said that street crime is a real problem in Southwark which is why they have a really fast response unit here. The important thing is to always report a crime, and although it might seem pointless, the big yellow boards that get put up appealing to witnesses do seem to at least deter any more attacks in those spots. Anyway - most important piece of advice he gave was to always look around you when leaving a well lit, busy street. Both the attacks by our building occured when the victims were followed off Tooley Street onto a less well lit back street.