By Pierangelly Del Rio
Fallowfield is best known for its vibrant nights and for having a large student population. Lately, the South Manchester suburb has been linked to insecurity and an alarming increase in crime.
Students have said they are “too scared to walk the streets” at night and crime is getting out of hand. Violent attacks and burglaries have been reported over the past two weeks.
The most recent report claims five masked men sped down Wilmslow Road armed with machetes towards two friends. One of the victims feared for his life as a man swung the machete at him and used his moped “as a battering ram”. The group circled the two men and demanded property; they also inflicted cuts with the weapons. The incident took place around 1am on Monday 9th October.
After reporting the incident to the local police, the victims were told other four similar attacks had taken place the same nights, however, no arrests were made.
Last month, it was reported by the authorities that a gang of teenagers had been mugging students around Platt Lane, Platt Fields Park and Wilmslow Road. The group took iPhones, money and other electronic and physically assaulted the victims who refused to hand in the items.
Other episodes, which took place last week, involved weapons and violent assaults to lone victims, that happened during the early hours of the morning.
Students are demanding police forces to reinforce security around the area through an online petition. So far, more than 8,000 signatures have been collected.
University of Manchester student, Matthew Harvison is the organizer of the petition. Among his plans is to hand the petition to Mayor Andy Burham. Harvinson, who personally knows students affected by Fallowfield’s insecurity, claims the most vulnerable individuals are those living in multi-occupancy accommodation in Fallowfield, Withington and Rusholme.
“When police talk about giving out advice they’re talking about the Manchester Uni halls. They are disregarding second and third-year students going into private accommodation. They are the worst hit,” said Harvison.
“If anything it’s just to raise awareness and make students feel safer. Right now they feel neglected by police.”
The alarming incidents in Fallowfield trace back to August, with reportedly 133 crimes being denounced. Among those, 29 incidents reported violence and sexual offenses, 15 burglaries, three robberies and six thefts from a person.
Harvison’s petition demands change and pleads for the voice of the students to be heard and can be found here.