Cars have been damaged, windows smashed and wheelie bins set on fire and residents in a Limavady estate have had enough of it.
And they made it clear at a public meeting on Wednesday night they’re no longer willing to tolerate the anti social behaviour plaguing their estate.
“What have you done and what are you going to do?” one woman asked police present.
“I cannot do it without you,” said PSNI Chief Inspector Ian Magee. “When we get intelligence in, we’ll do what needs to be done.”
CI Magee said police had been in the Glens for almost seven days inside a month period, which he believed was “reasonable” and “quite a high presence”, but he said he understood a victim of crime would feel differently. He said people need to come forward and, even if they don’t want to make a statement, they can give the information and they will act on it.
Residents described the traumatic impact anti social behaviour has had on their families, while others said there needs to be better engagement with young people. Some claimed the majority of youths involved in recent trouble are from other estates. Police were asked if CCTV could be installed in the estate, and what would be deemed as “acceptable evidence”. Police were also asked about patrolling the estate. One man said when it came to catching those involved in recent trouble: “I’m no Dumbo, but you don’t have to be Columbo either.” Another resident said he wasn’t there to defend the police, but said “community policing is missing.”
A police officer told residents the turnout at the meeting showed people were not prepared to accept what is happening. He urged residents to report what they see so police can act on that information.
Tina McCloskey from the Glens Community Association said all the issues raised at the meeting, attended by Housing Executive representatives, would be discussed at the next ‘anti social behaviour forum’.
“The Glens is a lovely estate and, when you walk around, there are a lot of green areas and the majority of people who are here have been here for years and they want to live in peace. It’s just small numbers of youths who are causing th e problems. I’m going to try and get a youth worker in the area to engage with teenagers involved, but people have to report incidents so there will be more police in the area,” said Mrs McCloskey.
Sinn Fein Colr. Dermot Nicholl said the community, and statutory agencies have to work collectively so “the message has to go out that this will not be tolerated. We have to galvanise together as a community.”
CI Magee said a plan of action would be agreed. He said while there mightn’t be more officers on the ground, “we will focus the times they are out.”