The PSNI have issued a warning to young people and their parents after a Derry woman in her 70s spoke out in relation to being “tortured” by gangs of youths outside her home.
Police have said that what can seem like “fooling about” to young people can end in criminal records with implications for their future working lives and ability to travel.
A PSNI spokesman told the ‘Journal’ that police understand the extent to which antisocial behaviour can have an adverse effect on the quality of life for those affected by it.
He was speaking after Shantallow woman, Patsy Brennan (72), pleaded with parents to talk to their children after being subjected to a campaign of intimidation in the flat she has lived in for 45 years.
Mrs Brennan, who was widowed less than a year ago, has also called on the authorities to ensure the ongoing incidents are stopped for good.
She said that over the past several years there had been repeated episodes of eggs and snowballs being thrown at her windows; gangs removing the industrial rubbish shoot used by the tenants and throwing it about; name calling and even incidents of youths defecating and urinating close to her home.
Responding, a PSNI spokesman said: “We are here to listen to community concerns and work with others to find a solution to any problems they may have.
“Officers from the Ballyarnett Neighbourhood Policing Team make up part of the Outer North Community Safety Forum along with local councillors, community representatives, community safety wardens and representatives from local housing associations.
“Police always seek to exploit all opportunities to address anti-social behaviour, working closely with local residents and other agencies. This work includes enforcement - making arrests – and education – helping our young people understand the impact this type of activity can have on the victim.”
Addressing those involved in such activities and their parents, he added: “Young people have every right to go about their business and enjoy each other’s company, but I would just like to remind them that what might initially seem like fooling about can sometimes get out of hand and end up in a criminal record which can affect travel, education and employment opportunities in the future. It is really important that young people understand this.
“Police are also asking parents and guardians to make sure they know where their young people are; what they are doing and to talk to them about the danger of getting caught up in the moment and the possible outcomes they could face if they are found committing any offences.”
Police said they will continue to monitor reports of antisocial behaviour.
“If anyone in the area is concerned about antisocial behaviour or any sort of criminal activity, please contact police at the earliest opportunity in a bid to help prevent and detect crime,” the spokesman said. “Anyone with any information or with general concerns regarding antisocial behaviour should contact police in Strand Road on 101 or members of the Ballyarnett Neighbourhood Police Team directly.”