When does behaviour cross the line from acceptable to anti-social? This is a question I’ve been asking myself for nearly two years.
I live in a quiet street in Sheffield 7. My neighbours are friendly and quiet and the street is a friendly place to live apart from a single issue which causes stress, intimidation and, in my mind, confusion: anti-social behaviour.
A group of youths, aged 20 to 25, congregate every afternoon and evening on a wall/ corner close to my house.
They come in cars or on foot and shout, play loud music, smoke, litter and generally treat the street like their own.
Residents will not park where they sit as they use the cars as seats and leaning posts. They have no apparent reason for being there other than the fact that no one can stop them.
The police say they can do nothing as they are not committing a crime, yet officers encourage me to report all incidents. These youths use an elderly resident’s wall as a meeting place and when it rains use her alleyway to shelter, in the process trespassing on private land. What actually constitutes anti-social behaviour and what is the point in identifying it to the authorities if there are no powers to stop it?
This intimidating behaviour so close to my house causes me hours of stress and misery, turning my home from a place of safety and joy to an effective prison. If the police can do nothing what is the chance that an ordinary member of the public can do anything?
The police even tell me they know the youths, know where they live and have spoken to their parents regarding the issues. Their parents simply say ‘no that can’t be my son, you have the wrong people’. When will people stand up and take responsibility for their own?
I don’t consider myself to be alone in this and believe it to be a wide spread, low level, problem across the city.
New processes and controls need to be established in order to combat this issue and allow people to enjoy living in their own homes without selfish, ignorant people intruding upon their lives.