The Star Says: ‘Anti-social’ needs a harsher stigma

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The name of anti-social behaviour never sounds quite right for the misery is causes to thousands of people across our region.

Think of the term ‘anti-social’ and it is someone not getting their round in or who uses two parking spaces for their car in a busy car park. It may even be just not being very good company – someone who is the opposite of being ‘social’.

But no. Anti-social these days means so much more and it places a weak label on day-to-day behaviour such as incidents of crime, nuisance and disorder – from litter and vandalism, to public drunkenness or aggressive dogs, to noisy or abusive neighbours – that it is almost becoming a tolerated part of our lives.

Today we reveal the figures of anti-social reports across South Yorkshire over the past three years and they make for quite startling, and worrying, reading.

Last year, across the county, the number of reports of nuisance neighbours was up by 56 per cent from 2013.

Rowdy and inconsiderate behaviour has also risen by 37 per cent in that time.

You have to be on the other end of this behaviour to truly appreciate the debilitating effect it has on individuals, families and entire communities.

A group gathering in the street drinking one night may be put down to kids just having a laugh.

But when it goes on for night after night. When bus shelters and grit bins are punched or kicked as light entertainment for the group at what point does someone step in and tell them to move along?

Dare we – when we read about people who have confronted trouble-causers and been beaten or even murdered – have the guts to step outside the safety of our homes and risk a confrontation?

We should. And we should receive the full-support of the authorities. But we know that our words will – at best – fall on deaf ears and the problem will remain the next night and the one after that.

Anti-social behaviour should carry a much stronger stigma. Parents should be embarrassed at their children getting into trouble.

Adults should be ashamed that their behaviour, when described as ‘anti-social’, is categorised as such.

While ever we provide soft titles for actions which are carried out by yobs then we are destined to have to keep putting up with it. And that’s a depressing thought.