Anti-social behaviour causes stress and anxiety within a community. Instances include criminal offences like harassment & intimidation while less serious activity include noisy neighbours and trespassing.
What is Anti-Social Behaviour?
It is not easy to accurately define anti-social behaviour. It can also be difficult to differentiate between normal, youthful activities or deviant behaviour as opposed to illegal acts. Different people tolerate different conditions, and what one person classifies as high spirits another person classifies as anti-social activity.
It has been argued that care needs to be taken when labelling young people ‘anti-social’. A large gathering of young people may appear threatening, but gathering in a group is not anti-social or illegal.
Types of Anti-Social Behaviour
Anti-social behaviour is conduct that exhibits a total lack of consideration for others in the local community. In many incidences alcohol is involved, and drunkenness often leads to minor types of lawlessness including litter offences, begging, graffiti and vandalism, which in turn can lead to aggressive behaviour, threats of violence and criminal activity.
Rowdy or inconsiderate behaviour, or noise nuisance, is probably the most common form of anti-social behaviour. Large groups of people hanging about the streets can be intimidating, and nuisance vehicles, such as abandoned cars or the misuse of motor vehicles, can also lead to serious problems.
Causes of Anti-Social Behaviour
Anti-social behaviour often occurs in areas of social disadvantage where there is a cycle of unemployment and social exclusion. It may start with truancy and other types of disorderly conduct. In many cases the perpetrator may have a mental health issue or there may be a history of addiction. It is therefore important to look at the underlying causes of anti-social behaviour in order to tackle it effectively.
Dealing with Anti-Social Behaviour
Successive governments have adopted various measures to manage anti-social behaviour. In the past, police and councils in the UK could issue an ASBO (Anti-Social Behaviour Order) which was meant to curb disruptive or violent behaviour. In 2014 they were replaced by the CPN (Community Protection Notice) which is aimed at preventing unacceptable behaviour in the community — any behaviour or activity having a detrimental effect on the quality of life of residents and citizens. To this end, an investigation is carried out which examines the seriousness of the conduct and the impact of anti-social behaviour on those affected.
One obstacle when dealing with disruptive activity is people’s reluctance to report anti-social behaviour. This is often due to fear of reprisal, or because the culprits are known to others in the community who do not want to get involved.