The Wanstead Festival and Fringe are a time when the best of the community spirit is on display.

There is so much going on over this week in September that it is difficult to keep up.

The different theatrical productions, the art trail, street parties, comedy and the spreading kindness initiative. Then, the day of the festival itself, when Christchurch Green comes alive.

People come out to celebrate together and the kindness project is a particularly laudable venture, a recognition of the importance of treating each other properly, with respect.

What is difficult to reconcile is the vital spirit of celebration seen at the fringe and festival, with some of the hysteria seen on social media, particularly around the topic of crime.

There are criminal incidents occurring in Wanstead, there always have been. I have been victim of crime on a number of occasions over the years, not a pleasant experience but a sad reality.

What we did not have in the past was social media, which amplifies every criminal act into an apocalyptic happening that threatens our very way of life. Wanstead is not what it was, etc, etc.

There has also been a rather alarming tendency, on the part of some, over recent times, to address almost as much venom toward the police as to the perpetrators of the crime itself.

Something happens on the high street and it apparently is the police’s fault because they did not know in advance it was going to happen, so were not standing ready in the exact place to take action.

Making it even more difficult is that it appears that some crimes are not reported to the police. How are they supposed to investigate or devote the resources required to deal with the demand if people are not reporting the crimes?

Ridiculous. Crystal balls were never standard issue among police equipment.

The police are doing a difficult job, their numbers have been cut hugely by the present government over the past nine years. Yes, they could do a better job but so could we all. What they cannot do is prevent crime, only advise how best to avoid becoming a victim.

Police are essentially social dustmen, picking up the pieces of society - not the solution.

Stopping crime requires a much wider response - that includes providing good jobs, rehabilitation for offenders, support networks for young and old and a fairer division of wealth in society.

The gap between the haves and have nots continues to grow, and for the most part Wanstead is inhabited by haves – hence its attraction to the criminal element.

So yes, crime does occur in Wanstead but let’s not get it out of all proportion. I think that the picture of the community coming together in celebration over Fringe Week and the Wanstead Festival is much more reflective of our area than that of a crime hotspot. We are lucky to be living here, so let’s be positive and all contribute to making our community an even kinder, better place to live.