The results of a recent survey carried out across the whole of the Borough demonstrate that our residents continue to be very concerned about crime, especially violent crime, but also anti-social behavior and graffiti.
Graffiti affects all of us, and is a blight on our community. Criminal damage in the form of graffiti is a common type of anti-social behaviour, particularly where the graffiti is of an obscene, personal or racist nature. Victims of such behaviour are often left traumatised and unable to cope. Yet if the graffiti is not dealt with promptly, it inevitably encourages others to leave their own 'trademarks', causing greater distress for victims and increasing damage to the building and residential environment. This is commonly known as the 'broken window syndrome'.
I firmly believe that it is the Council's responsibility to take the lead and help our residents in this battle. Two of my colleagues, Peter Charon and Cllr David Smith have been lobbying hard on this matter at the Safer and Stronger Communities Forum for some time.
Some initiatives are being pursued but invariably these are connected to graffiti on public property, and do little to help anyone else, be it at their home or place of business.
Other Local Authorities have made the eradication of graffiti a top priority, so why can't we? Some Councils have introduced a 'zero tolerance' policy, and given residents a freefone telephone number, and a pledge to attend and remove offending graffiti within 24 hours, irrespective of where it is. A pipedream? No, it's no pipedream.
I am delighted that we have secured a promise that this will become a firm commitment that a new Conservative Administration will seek to implement just as soon as resources permit.
We're lucky not to have too much graffiti here in Littledown and Iford, although I'm receiving complaints about it at the Skate Park. I was going to illustrate this story with a photo of it, but then I realised that none of the photos I had included a shot without something obscene written in it. I've therefore written to Parks and Neighbourhood Management to ask them to arrange for the offending writing to be cleaned off without delay.