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Anti-social Behaviour (ASB)

From a safe distance, anti-social behaviour (ASB) might not seem serious. But if it's your home or your street, it can leave you feeling intimidated, angry and frightened. It can ruin lives and make whole areas feel unsafe.

Anti-social behaviour almost always starts off small. Over time, the little incidents add up. The behaviour gets more serious. Things that were just a nuisance to begin with can become threatening or dangerous.

Anti-social behaviour includes:

  • Threatening or 'yobbish' behaviour.
  • Gangs 'hanging around'.
  • Abusive, rowdy or noisy neighbours.
  • People buying or selling drugs.
  • Drinking in the street, aggressive begging.
  • Night time noise from houses or gardens.
  • Setting off fireworks late at night.
  • Graffiti and fly-posting.
  • Vandalism.
  • Cars abandoned on the street.
  • Litter and fly-tipping.
  • Any other behaviour that disturbs or scares you.

Some of these may be one-off events; others may happen repeatedly, so the effects add up over time.

Examples of behaviours that are generally not considered anti-social include children playing, everyday noise from washing machines and lawn mowers, and noise from DIY projects (unless they are carried out at an unreasonable time of night or day).

Anti-social behaviour has a wide legal definition. In relation to anti-social behaviour orders, the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 section 1 (1) (a) defines it as:

'acting in a manner that caused or was likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to one or more persons not of the same household as himself, and that such an order is necessary to protect relevant persons from further anti-social acts.'

There are many ways that Sussex residents can support their communities and help reduce anti-social behaviour:

  • Join your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme or a tenants' or residents' association.
  • Attend a monthly meeting with your Neighbourhood Policing Team.
  • Discuss any issues with your local councillor, who can act on your behalf to raise concerns with the council and other organisations.
  • Become a Special Constable.
  • If the anti-social behaviour is noise related then please contact your local Environmental health department.
  • If your neighbours are private tenants then report the nuisance problem to the letting agent. They may be able to help you as often the tenancy agreement states that they must not cause a nuisance to neighbours.
  • If your neighbours are council or housing associate tenants then report the nuisance problem to the council or relevant organisation as they may be able to help.

By playing an active role in your community you really can help make a difference. Often the councils and housing associations will only become involved after a few reports, so don't wait, report it.

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