I live in South London.
Most days it’s safe – I say this despite the fact that in five minutes, I could walk you past the location of three murders over the last 12 months.
Yes, there is crime here and something needs to be done about it… although I’m not convinced Lambeth Council’s latest ‘name and shame’ idea will work. The campaign is predicated on coming to Brixton for the ‘right‘ reasons:
The posters, which are displayed at Brixton tube and on buses across the borough, show anonymous faces of ‘offenders’, listing their drug offence, the conviction they were given – and the unwelcome publicity they received as a result. These images are mirrored by partner posters that quote visitors who came to Brixton to enjoy the culture, food, and nightlife, rather than to buy drugs. The council says the over-riding message is ‘come to Brixton for the right reasons’.
So, come to Brixton to buy or sell drugs and you could end up on Lambeth council’s very own version of facebook, backed up by a print campaign. Whilst the print campaign uses models, it appears the online campaign – hosted on the council’s website - doesn’t.
What I don’t understand is what happens if (and it may be a big if) an offender manages to turn their lives around. Ok to get rid of the profile then, or will it be left on the website as a permanent scarlett letter?
To me, whilst the press around the campaign suggests it’s targeting both buyers and sellers it’s the latter that I think they are really after – if there is no market, I guess the theory goes, there aren’t any dealers. At least not visible ones.
Is there a better way to use social media in this context? Will the announcement of interactive crime maps help?