Youths drinking, taking drugs, urinating and causing mayhem is what elderly and vulnerable Shankill residents have had to cope with recently.
Sinn Fein Cllr Liam Mackle called for an end to anti-social behaviour in Edward St and Maple Court after residents complained of being plagued by youths gathering in the communal area of the flats.
“Some have been drinking, taking drugs, urinating and causing mayhem in what is essentially someone else’s home,” said Cllr Mackle who contacted the NI Housing Executive to secure the area and the PSNI.
“These flats are home to both elderly and vulnerable residents and this kind of behaviour is simply not acceptable. I would ask parents in the area to be aware of the whereabouts of their children. I am also urging residents to contact the PSNI or their local rep when such instances occur. We all deserve to feel safe in our homes.”
A NIHE spokesperson said: “The Housing Executive is taking action. Our manager spoke to Cllr Mackle last week and outlined the actions to be taken.
“The lock to the communal hallway was replaced on Monday, 18 December and keys given to all tenants. This should ensure only those accessing the communal hallway are doing so with the permission of a tenant. We have also arranged for the graffiti to be removed as soon as possible.”
PSNI Inspector Brian Mills said: “Police regularly patrol this area to disrupt such behaviour and residents can be assured that if police note any young people committing criminal offences, they will be robustly dealt with.
“It is totally unacceptable and those that involve themselves in this type of behaviour need to understand the fear and worry they are needlessly causing to elderly and vulnerable members of our community.
“We are always here to listen to all community concerns and want to help find a solution however this is not simply a policing issue.
“The support of local people, community and voluntary representatives, and particularly the parents of those youths frequenting the area is necessary to effectively make change and improve quality of life for residents.
“Parents and guardians need to take responsibility regarding the whereabouts of their children and young teenagers during the weekend and especially at night and be aware of what dangers their children are potentially at risk from if they become involved in anti-social activity.
“Those responsible run the risk of arrest and a criminal record which could have an impact on them for the rest of their lives.
“We work closely with local businesses and partner agencies and this work includes enforcement, making arrests and education which, in turn, helps our young people to understand the impact this type of activity can have on the victims.
“If anyone in the area is concerned about anti-social behaviour or any sort of criminal activity, please contact police in Lurgan on the non-emergency number 101 and let us know so that we can respond appropriately.
“Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”