There has been much concern over recent months about crime.

It is unsettling for the community, especially the victims. As the victim of a mugging some years ago, I can recall the physical and particularly the mental scars it left. A feeling of not being safe, seeing everyone as a threat.

Where things have changed over recent years is with the growth of social media. This has positives and negatives when it comes to crime. Things like street WhatsApp and Facebook groups help keep people informed. People know to keep their eyes open for suspicious behaviour etc. There can also be a collective feeling of not being alone.

The negative side is the overhyping of crime, creating a state of hysteria that fosters fear. There seems to be this compulsion with social media that everyone has to say something. Maybe it is an outlet for some people to just let it all out but in the case of crime that is not always helpful as it helps create a false impression of the real situation on the streets. This can frighten people, who then may not come out.

Some of these problems became apparent at a recent ward panel meeting with the police, where it emerged that a crime that had been described in detail on social media, had not been reported. This caused much frustration to the police, who cannot act unless crime is reported. In a wider context the failure to report crime suggests the crime is just not there, so police resources will shift elsewhere.

At times, it can seem on social media as if Wanstead is some sort of crime centre. A look at the most recent statistics suggests this is not true, with crime at a lower level here than in most other parts of the borough. For example, there were 90 thefts in Wanstead Park and Wanstead Village Wards (45 in each) for the three month period to May 12. This compares to 288 in Clementswood in Ilford.

Crime is a problem but much can be done to combat it in our community. Take preventative measures to secure possessions. If you do become the victim of a crime, then report it to the police.

We all need to look out for each other, whether that be via information on social media or just being more vigilant when out and about.

The council has brought more CCTV cameras to the area, which has helped combat crime. Redbridge enforcement teams are also active.

There is also the Streetwatch scheme which is operating in some parts of Redbridge, where groups of vetted and trained residents patrol different areas. This is an option for Wanstead, if people want it and are prepared to come forward and take part.

There are things beyond our control, such as the failure by the Government to fully fund the police service. It is becoming more and more apparent across the land that this lack of investment is putting citizens at risk. The Government needs to reverse this foolhardy policy.

The situation is not ideal but crime is always going to be with us. What is important though is that we all act to make crime as difficult as possible for the perpetrators to commit. Preventative measures are important, as is reporting crime, for those who become the unfortunate victims. But what is equally important is that we all look out for each other – that means in the physical world as well as online.