In it for the long haul

In it for the long haul

If you do report it to Environmental Health/Police do not expect things to happen quickly. Expect to be in it for the ‘long haul'” ‘James’, South Yorkshire

‘James’ and other neighbours are subject to a catalogue of anti-social behaviour. There is loud music and DIY noise. The gardens and property are untidy because of hoarding. There is drug use and drug dealing with a steady stream of visitors which is intimidating for the residents, and their property has been damaged on more than one occasion. For local residents, this anti-social behaviour has deeply affected them:

  • disturbed sleep because of the noise
  • health affected by the stress of the situation and the lack ofsleep
  • fear once their property became vandalised
  • the value of their homes has gone down thanks to the appearance of the neighbour’s property with the hoarding.

At the start we appealed to our neighbour in a friendly manner but this did no good. Environmental Health has been involved for a very long time too. Also the police are now involved because of the drug dealing and damage to our property.” James explains.

The case is in the system. He is in it for the long haul.

Our Analysis

James has done everything right. First of all he tried to speak to his neighbour about the problem. When that didn’t work, he contacted Environmental Health because the issues were noise and hoarding. These are dealt with by the Council. Once drugs and vandalism were added to the list of ASB the police, as we would expect, got involved. The problems are not yet resolved but the correct agencies are involved. It really is a case of being ‘in it for the long haul’.

This will feel frustrating and unfair – and it is. You never choose to be a victim of anti-social behaviour. Someone recently commented on our Facebook page that they wish they had never reported the anti-social behaviour in the first place. We completely understand their sentiments – to get results you will need to be involved in the case, giving evidence, and potentially a target of retaliation for speaking up.

Yet you also have to look at the alternative. We need to be tolerant of our neighbours. Yet if their behaviour starts causing us distress and affecting our health, it has definitely become anti-social. Surely it is better to do something about it, even if it will involve a long haul, rather than suffering in silence. Neither option is appealing.

Victims of anti-social behaviour have not chosen to be victims. It has happened to them and they can choose to face it or suffer in silence. It will take a long time to resolve so don’t leave it too late to bring it to the attention of your local agencies. We trust that there is light at the end of the tunnel for James and that in time he and his fellow neighbours can put this nightmare behind them.


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