Some issues with neighbours only affect you as the immediate neighbour. Others will have an impact on a number of houses or a whole street. By working together as residents, you immediately have a louder voice and are more likely to convince the relevant agencies to take action.
Whilst other residents may seem to be trying to sell up and move out, you need to be determined to stand firm and not have to leave. The police are quick to say you should never have to move because of ASB. Keep this in mind as you fight because in some cases you are likely to need a lot of persistence and determination to get results.
Here are some practical suggestions for how you might get involved as a community:
- Write to all your neighbours to find out who is also affected by the anti-social behaviour and encourage them to group together to ensure action is taken
- You could invite them to a meeting at your home or neutral venue, or you could suggest they all attend a public meeting where the Police are present (there should be meetings like this from time to time – ask the Police or your Community Safety Partnership when the next one is being held). You could ask the local police to attend a meeting you organise such as in this example: http://westleedsdispatch.com/stanningley-neighbourhood-watch-tackles-yobs/
- You could ask your neighbours to all sign a petition to show how many people are being affected by the anti-social behaviour. Such a petition could be sent to the relevant police and council officers but also to your local Councillors and MP – the more people informed, the more likely you are to get an effective response. See here for our tips on getting a petition together.
- Get to know your local Police and Community Support Officer by name. Once you have a named police officer, you can call 101 and ask to speak directly to them about the ongoing problems in your community
- Challenge your local agencies if they are not responding to your questions and complaints
- Set up a Neighbourhood Watch, Residents Association, or similar and meet monthly, keeping minutes of meetings to monitor the situation on an ongoing basis
If you feel unable to take the lead in organising your Community, perhaps you can identify someone in your neighbourhood who might have the confidence and time to dedicate to setting something like this in motion and go and talk to them.
There are organisations that may be able to help transform your community, through working with offenders and helping rebuild relationships between neighbours such as Community Organisers (www.cocollaborative.org.uk) or Redeeming your Communities (www.roc.uk.com).