Teenage tearaways ‘are wrecking lives’

Anti-social Behaviour
Anti-social Behaviour

The scourge of anti-social behaviour has spiked in the Lurgan area over the past few weeks with many families, elderly and vulnerable being terrorised by uncontrollable youths.

Fights in streets, children drinking publicly and taking drugs, kids running amok with what appears to be no parental control are among some of the complaints made to the ‘MAIL’.

Asked if these incidents had been reported to police, many said no as they felt it was pointless.

The empty factory site at Clendinings near Allenhill Park has been a mecca for underage drinking and anti-social behaviour.

Local residents feel tortured by the constant scourge of loud aggressive teens, drinking, taking drugs and causing trouble.

Despite this being a well known hot spot for anti-social behaviour over many years, nothing appears to have been done to sort it out.

And the anti-social behaviour is rife in Victoria St, Princes St, Derry St, Albert St, right through the town, in Taghnevan, the hospital estate and Mourneview.

“Teenage terrors and some older are holding local people ransom,” said one fed-up mum. “And if you threaten them with the cops they just laugh at you.”

Another Lurgan woman said: “They are wrecking and ruining all round them and ruining people’s lives.”

In some areas, locals claim parents are dropping their kids off at hotspots for under age drinking. “If it was happening on their own doorstep they would maybe be a bit more understanding.”

According to the PSNI website, anti-social behaviour counted for 36% of all crime in the Lurgan area between May 2014 and April 2015 ranking by far the most common crime.

Inspector Ken Annett, Lurgan Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “It is important to point out that ASB incidents in the Upper Bann area have decreased from 4,624 in 2010/11 to 4,230 in 2014/15. This demonstrates how joined up working between residents, police, community groups and statutory organisations can be successful.

“We liaise on a monthly basis with residents in Victoria St and meet with residents in Allenhill. One project in Allenhill at the minute is the progression of Neighbourhood Watch Scheme. We have increased patrols in areas where we know there are concerns around ASB and work closely with property management companies and NIHE to address issues in relation to tenants. We are in constant contact with local councillors.

“It is clear antisocial behaviour is not an issue that can be dealt with by police alone. Each agency and the local community have their role.

“The most important message I would like to send today is – if you see it, report it! It is very difficult for us to get a true grasp of the extent of antisocial behaviour if it is not reported to us.

“If you see ASB in your community please phone us. We do not have to call with you but we can respond to these reports and also build a full picture of what is happening in a particular area. This will also enable us to dedicate resources in the most effective way possible.”