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Could the Norwich murder and shooting be a wake-up call for our city?

PUBLISHED: 17:28 29 June 2018 | UPDATED: 10:42 30 June 2018

Police searching a park off Adelaide Street, Norwich, after a shooting.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Police searching a park off Adelaide Street, Norwich, after a shooting. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

‘What is going on in our city?’

So read the front page of Thursday’s Norwich Evening News in light of the terrible shooting of a teenage boy, which happened just three days after a murder in a city centre car park.

While there appears to be nothing to link the two, other than the horrific nature of both incidents, I felt this summed up the general feeling of most when hearing about these awful crimes.

It was certainly how I felt. Having been born here, lived here during some of my childhood and enjoyed the last 12 years here, I’ve always considered Norwich to be generally safe and largely free of some of the social problems that tarnish life elsewhere.

So should I and others who feel the same now be rethinking that theory? Are these two incidents a sign the city so many of us love, no longer exists?

The answer is a bit of yes, but also a bit of no.

In a strange way, the fact there has been so much genuine shock about both crimes can be taken as a good sign. Mercifully, shootings and fatal stabbings aren’t something we report on week after week. When they happen they still appear on the front pages, a sign of their uniqueness. When they do occur, the shock runs deep.

However, we can’t turn a blind eye to the fact Norwich has changed and, although it’s an uncomfortable truth, not all of that change has been good.

The issue of County Lines, drug dealers coming up from London, has dominated in the last two years and unfortunately we are seeing a violent spin-off. It seems likely at least one of these crimes was connected to the growing drug gangs in the city.

I know Norfolk Police, and its chief inspector, are aware of this and doing what they can. They’ve had many successes, but perhaps these incidents should be taken as a sign more needs to be done, not just by the police but all agencies tasked with keeping Norwich a fine city.

We’re lucky, there’s a long way to go before our city should be regarded as suffering the same woes as many others. Maybe, therefore, this is a wake up call. A sign we should work out how to act now before it’s too late.

What the answers are I don’t yet know. But I’m prepared to be part of the efforts to find them.

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