Youth shelters reduce antisocial behaviour by 70%

Contributed by editor on Jul 26, 2006 - 12:26 AM


Young people in the village could be getting a youth shelter o­n the site of a proposed multisports centre in Hawkinge.

The multisports centre site in Cricketers Close could just be the first of many shelters throughout the village.  Parish Council Chairman David Callahan said the council would be looking for more possible sites.

Although the antisocial problems within the village are relatively small, in other areas the benefits of the buildings have been shown to reduce reported incidents and antisocial behaviour by 70%.

Writing o­n the Young People Now website, Crispin Andrews has highlighted the link between youth shelters and a dramatic reduction in antisocial behaviour.

He says Councils including Shepway are starting to provide youth shelters so youngsters can have a safe place to meet and 'hang out'.

After looking at a range of solutions for an antisocial behaviour hot spot in the Golden Valley area, Shepway District Council held a meeting with young people, other residents, the police and local housing provider Southern Housing Group at council chambers in August last year.

For many years, the Golden Valley had suffered from minor vandalism, harassment, graffiti, abusive behaviour and alcohol-related crime.

Residents were particularly concerned about young people congregating in an alleyway behind their homes.

Despite the implementation of a police dispersal zone, these problems persisted.

One of the key recommendations of the conference was the lack of available space for the young people to hang out.

After raising £6,000 from Southern Housing Group, a brand new youth shelter was placed in a field at the centre of the community in April. Since then, the local police have recorded a 70 per cent decrease in the number of reported incidents of antisocial behaviour in the Golden Valley area.