THERE has been a ‘significant rise’ in anti-social behaviour across Antrim and Newtownabbey following the relaxation of lockdown restrictions.
Mayor Jim Montgomery confirmed that he is in regular contact with the Neighbourhood Policing Teams to discuss rampant criminality.
“Anti-social behaviour is disruptive, intimidating and can often result in criminal damage to private property,” he said.
“The aftermath, which can include graffiti, littering and broken glass, has an ongoing effect on people’s perception and enjoyment of our Borough.
“I understand the problem affects many areas across the Borough, stretching resources of all those agencies who are working hard to limit this activity.
“I support our local police in all their efforts to tackle anti-social behaviour, and encourage other organisations with an on-street presence, to work together with the PSNI and the Policing and Community Safety Partnership to ensure everyone can enjoy their homes, and the Borough, peacefully.”
Following a recent meeting of the PCSP, where a policing report highlighted the rise in anti-social behaviour, Chief Inspector David Moore confirmed that tackling it was a priority.
“Policing is very much about reducing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour and I am determined to build confidence in policing in Antrim and Newtownabbey so that communities are safe and feel safe,” he said.
“Anti-social behaviour across the Borough has seen an increase and is a priority for police and our partners.
“Resources will continue to be targeted towards addressing this however it must be remembered that it is not entirely related to young people and indeed has many causes.
“Now more than ever, our behaviour both individually and collectively is critical not just in relation to anti-social behaviour but how we work together as a society to keep everyone safe.”
Antrim and Newtownabbey PSCP Chair Councillor Paul Dunlop echoed those concerns.
“The Policing and Community Safety Partnership deploys resources each year in an effort to tackle to tackle anti-social behaviour,” he said.
These include the Community Safety Warden Scheme. Wardens are on duty across the borough from 5pm to 11pm each Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Wardens can be contacted on Mobile No: 07816144333.
There is also a high risk youth programme, which sees detached youth workers recruiting young people into ongoing personal development programmes.
“PSNI and PCSP continue to work in partnership with local community representatives and agencies to address these ongoing issues,” he added.
“Both agencies appeal to parents and guardians to speak with young people to ensure they know where they are going and who they are with.
“The rise in instances of anti-social behaviour involving fireworks is also extremely worrying. Fireworks are made from explosive material and, if misused, can cause serious and life changing injuries.
“It is illegal to possess, sell, handle or use fireworks if you do not have a licence, doing so can lead to a fine of up to £5,000 for breaking the law.
“PCSP also appeal directly to those involved in anti-social behaviour to think about the effect of their actions and indeed the impact of getting a criminal conviction which could damage opportunities to travel, study or secure their preferred job in the future.”