Police in the Page Hall area of Sheffield have pleaded with people not to take the law into their own hands as mounting tensions spark fears of disorder.
Officers have stepped up patrols and introduced a dispersal order in the area after incidents of anti-social behaviour, violence and noise.
But long-standing residents who turned out to a meeting last week said some Slovak migrants were ignoring the rules.
Since then South Yorkshire Police said it has become aware of some residents pledging to deal with the problems themselves.
Sheffield District Commander Chief Superintendent David Hartley said: “I am aware of the tension and community concerns which are rising.
“What I ask for is calm and a commitment to work with us and the council to find the right solutions.
“I have heard comments that suggest some are considering taking the law into their own hands.
“I strongly advise against that – it will only be counterproductive and make matters worse.”
Community groups and fed-up residents say police have misinterpreted their call for action before the dispersal order – where groups of people causing anti-social behaviour can be broken up – runs out in November.
Dad-of-four Kashmir Malik, 34, of Page Hall, said: “We are a civilised community. The last thing anyone wants is riots. What we are saying is it can’t go on. The dispersal order has not worked.
“What’s going to happen in November? The nights will be darker and things will get worse. You don’t see a police officer on the street after 9.30pm. Some don’t even get out of their cars.
“Elderly people are too scared to go to the shops because of big crowds, there are half-naked children running around the streets.”
Fellow Page Hall resident Paul Downend said police were ‘ignoring’ large groups gathering on the streets.
“I ended up calling 999, as they were interrupting traffic,” he said.
Chief Supt Hartley said: “My plea is for all our local communities to work with us to find the right solutions.”