What to do if you’re scared to shop in Jewish areas

Advice from the CST on how to stay safe amid rising antisemitism


In the aftermath of the incident at Kay's supermarket, concerns about safety amongst shoppers and shopkeepers have risen. One Golders Green shopkeeper told the JC: “We’re really scared. We're worried. Our family in Israel didn’t sleep after they saw the news. They’re worried about us too.”

Dave Rich, Head of Policy at the Community Security Trust (CST), said there is no need to change daily habits, but shoppers and shopkeepers should be proactive and vigilant. Shops and restaurants face unique challenges compared to other community spaces like synagogues and schools, as they cannot restrict entry.

The CST advises shopkeepers to:

  • Develop and communicate a clear plan for both staff and customers in case of an attack. Have a plan for what to do with customers if an attacker enters the premises. Know the location of emergency exits and alternative doors.
  • Recognise behaviours that might indicate a potential threat, such as individuals lingering around the premises or taking photos of the building. Terrorists gather information by taking photos and watching buildings.
  • Encourage a culture of reporting amongst staff. If anything seems out of the ordinary, report it to the police and the CST. Keep important contact numbers, including the CST’s, readily available. Ensure that panic alarms, if available, are easily accessible.
  • Take advantage of the CST's free security training which will cover emergency planning and threat identification.
  • Join and interact with the CST’s WhatsApp groups for local high streets.
  • Report anything unusual promptly to the police, the CST and shopkeepers. Ensure the CST's contact number is readily available (0800 0323263) – save it on your phone.
  • Stop walking around with headphones and try not to look down at your phone.
  • Familiarise yourself with the locations of the emergency exits in the shops you visit frequently.
  • Focus on suspicious behaviours rather than specific appearances, as terrorists can have any kind of look. Report anyone taking photos of buildings or lingering in unusual places to the police and the CST.

Since October 7, CST has operated security patrols in Jewish areas, deploying private security experts during peak hours.

There are local WhatsApp groups that CST volunteers moderate which share important updates about safety in your local area. Shop owners can get in touch with the CST to join one of these.

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