Anti-social behaviour: local perception and reporting behaviour in a small urban location

Venables, Lucie Mary (2013) Anti-social behaviour: local perception and reporting behaviour in a small urban location. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.


This thesis builds on the author’s professional experience through an empirical study, at a local level, examining how people experience and perceive antisocial behaviour. Anti-social behaviour legislation and centralised policy was initially based on the notion anti-social behaviour was easy to define. Innes’s (2004) signal crimes perspective identified the importance of local, context specific research to uncover what residents identify as important in relation to crime and anti-social behaviour. This thesis uniquely brings together this perspective with social capital theory, specifically bonding, bridging and linking to explore the factors associated with reporting behaviour. A small urban location, Bentswood, was selected as the sample on the basis of the composition of housing tenure and child poverty indices. A mixed methods research design was selected, including a house to house survey (N = 284) and semi-structured interview (N = 15). A range of behaviours were identified as anti-social behaviour with participants considering it to be anything that showed a lack of respect or persistently impacted on daily life. Nearly three-quarters of anti-social behaviour in the Bentswood ward goes unreported. Those with a disability or long term illness were significantly more likely to report anti-social behaviour. Participants with negative views of neighbours and local services were also more likely to report. Those who report a symbolically important behaviour referred to within this thesis as a signal, reported feeling more fearful during the day and after dark. Certain signals go unreported as participants perceive services to be uninterested in their concerns, highlighting a clear link between the signal crimes perspective and linking social capital. This thesis is not an analysis of public policy, however its findings may help in improving the knowledge base for policy and local service provision. This may also stimulate further research into these issues in different types of neighbourhoods. In conclusion, locally driven practices for the understanding and management of anti-social behaviour are paramount.

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