COMMUNITY leaders have called for calm after the latest shocking attack in Southend.

The murder in Park Lane, Westcliff, on Tuesday, is the third serious incident to happen in the area in the last 18 months.

Another murder took place in nearby Park Street last February, while the abduction and attempted rape of a nine-year-old girl happened in Park Lane seven months ago.

Julian Ware-Lane, Labour councillor for the Milton Ward, said the incidents were not related and hopes Southend is not turning into a haven for violent crime.

He said: “If you go down those roads there is not a sense that you live in or are walking through bandit country.

“If someone said to me they were thinking of moving into Park Road I would not discourage them from doing it – it is not a dangerous road.

“I walk along Park Lane quite regularly and it is a large alleyway and we had a streetlight put in there a couple of years ago, but I do not feel unsafe.

“When you hear about things like this it is profoundly worrying, but you are starting to wonder if Southend is becoming a violent crime place – which I hope is not the case.”

A CCTV camera was recently installed at the junction of Manchester Drive and Norfolk Avenue, in Leigh, following a shooting and Mr Ware-Lane would back installation of CCTV if there was a demand for it.

He added: “Budget restrictions have meant cuts to police resources, but I’m not convinced even if there were three times the officers on the streets this would not have happened.

“But residents want assurances they will be safe and more patrols in the area. We as councillors will speak to police and residents and if there is a sense that people would feel safer with CCTV cameras then I would absolutely push for that.”

Chief Insp Simon Anslow, Southend district commander, said: “It is not a street we would identify as being a particular problem street.

“I think the three incidents are completely unrelated to each other in type and are only joined together by locality.

“I would be very hesitant to start drawing inferences about the location and any wider risk to residents.

“It is too early to tell with this case, but we are talking about incidents related only to the individuals involved, not people walking down the street and being attacked.”