Thieves targeting Charedim

A mobile police station is operating once again in the heart of Manchester’s Charedi community following a spate of violent attacks and muggings on religious Jews in Broughton Park. The station was open in Northumberland Street at the weekend and the intention is for it to be manned continuously over Shabbat.

Recent incidents have included the stabbing of a 50-year-old man by youths at his home during Shavuot. Two young men were punched in Bury New Road on a Shabbat afternoon and another man was the victim of a violent mugging. In a further incident, youths took hundreds of pounds from property lettings agent Nachman Gruner.

“After one tried to grab my phone, two other youths came from behind trees,” Mr Gruner recalled. “They started going into my pockets and pushing the buggy with my one-year-old son in it. I was frightened and just gave them the money.”

Victor Freed — a neighbour of the stabbing victim — said he was now taking extra precautions. He was sceptical as to whether a mobile station would be a deterrent. “What makes a difference is to have police on motorcycles.”

Greater Manchester Police say they “are doing what we can to reassure the community”. The temporary station would allow people “to report any problems or crimes without having to use their phones”.

Community Security Trust communications director Mark Gardner said the police had not recorded any of the incidents as antisemitic. “It’s a borough-wide problem but there is no doubt the Charedi community is being tageted. A number of local rabbis have been petitioning the police and local council to put CCTV in the area.”

    Last updated: 4:45pm, August 17 2009