Antrim and Newtownabbey records ‘highest’ increase in anti-social behaviour
A youth initiative to tackle anti-social behaviour will be rolled out in Antrim and Newtownabbey this summer following the sharpest rise in incidents in Northern Ireland during the past year.
The PSNI says that anti-social behaviour has increased during lockdown from 3,752 reports in the borough between May 2019/20 to 5,202 during the same period in 20/21.
This figure represents an increase of 38.6 per cent and can be compared to 37.4 per cent in Causeway Coast and Glens, the second highest and Ards and North Down, 35.7 per cent.
Commenting on social media, Glengormley Alderman Julian McGrath said: “After numerous discussions and multi-agency meetings around anti-social behaviour, one of the areas targeted by the BEAT programme (‘Be Educated, Be Active, Be Together’) will be Glengormley.
“The BEAT Programme is designed to engage with young people who are at risk of becoming involved in anti-social behaviour.”
A report to the council’s Community Planning Committee, which met on Monday evening, said: “BEAT is designed to be more than a conventional summer scheme by engaging with detached young people who are at risk of becoming involved in anti-social behaviour and providing a mix of positive physical, developmental and educational activities.”
Teenagers will be encouraged to participate in activities that include drugs/alcohol awareness, fire safety, team building, mental health awareness, developing healthy inter-personal relationships, arts and music, good relations, and sports.
The youth intervention will be delivered for eight weeks during July and August in Glengormley, Ballyclare, Crumlin and Rathenraw and Stiles estates in Antrim.
Speaking at the committee meeting, Airport Ulster Unionist Ald Paul Michael BEM said: “I am delighted to see the programme back. It is imperative we continue to support these projects.
“They are targeted at areas that have pockets of anti-social behaviour. We have seen the benefit of them over the years.”
Ald McGrath, an Alliance councillor, told the meeting: “It is a very welcome scheme in Glengomley. Providing activities for youth in the evening will have the effect of taking them off the street.”
Threemilewater DUP Cllr Mark Cooper BEM, called for a similar programme in all the borough’s district electoral areas.
“Antrim and Newtownabbey has one of the highest anti-social behaviour figures in the past year. I think it would be worthwhile through the PCSP (Policing and Community Safety Partnership )looking at something throughout the DEAs so it is all being looked at.”
Police have carried out site visits in Ballyclare in a bid to address concerns around anti-social behaviour and criminal damage.
Ballyclare DEA Ulster Unionist Cllrs Vera McWilliam and Norrie Ramsay met with PSNI officers last month to highlight concerns in the town over anti-social behaviour, including under-age drinking near the Sixmile Leisure Centre, in Ballyclare War Memorial Park.
Police heard council staff are “routinely” having to clean up certain areas of the town following under-age drinking and groups of young people gathering.
Anti-social behaviour and suspected drug use was reported at the Anderson Park area in Doagh outside Ballyclare the previous month. Click here to read
Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter
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