London Crimes: New York Times social media appeal backfires

At a time when many tourists are worrying about crime statistics when planning a European city break, they can be assured the London sense of humour is still criminally on point.

After the New York Times‘ London reporter petitioned the internet for their gritty tales of inner city crime – she hadn’t been expecting these.

“Have you experienced a petty crime in London? Click to tell us your story,” read the post from the New York Times‘ Twitter account.

Have you experienced a petty crime in London? Click to tell us your story.
(Your submission may be selected for publication.) https://t.co/MRvmXdlYC8

But poorly made cups of tea and stories of Underground etiquette faux-pas were not what the paper was after when tweeting a call for experiences of minor crimes and misdemeanors.

“Sitting on the London Underground, and a passenger met my eyes for more than a second. Then he *smiled*. #londonhasfallen,” wrote actor Stephen McGann in a reply on twitter.

Since appearing on the American newspaper’s social media it has attracted over 8.4 thousand replies with insipid reports of ‘crimes’ with laced with sarcasm and London stereotypes.

Sitting on the London Underground, and a passenger met my eyes for more than a second. Then he *smiled*. #londonhasfallen

The original investigation by the UK based journalist Ceylan Yeginsu was into disappointing statistics for London’s Metropolitan police in tackling burglary and “minor property crimes”.

Having been based in the UK capital for the past two years covering crime for the American newspaper, Yeginsu admitted having her “own experience” on the wrong end of a burglary investigation.

The writer’s house in London had been burgled two months prior to the investigation and she was after further anecdotal evidence.

However in turning to her publisher’s social media as a mouthpiece for sourcing leads, the tweet seems to have been a terrible blow for trans-Atlantic diplomacy.

What looked an effort from the New York Times to go through their UK neighbours’ dirty laundry has rubbed many UK Twitter pundits the wrong way. The post was inundated with sarcastic London-themed trolling.

Some fella was standing on the left hand side of the down escalators at Shepherd’s Bush today. I tutted VERY loudly as I passed #meanstreets

Restaurant critic Tom Parker Bowles shared his encounter with a fellow commuter – probably a tourist – “standing on the left hand side of the down escalators at Shepherd’s Bush.”

The Soho Theatre tweeted a scandalous tale of two audience members who claimed the same seat.

“Neither appologised.”

Twitter user James McKay took to the platform to report a nasty case of Arson: witnessing “an American newspaper getting burned by an unruly mob of sarcastic British people.”

Thankfully I wasn’t the victim, but I did witness an American newspaper getting burned by an unruly mob of sarcastic British people.

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