James Morris MP column: Ignoring low level crime encourages greater lawlessness (From Halesowen News)
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James Morris MP column: Ignoring low level crime encourages greater lawlessness
8:00am Wednesday 23rd October 2013 in News
Last month’s spate of graffiti attacks around Halesowen was another reminder of the importance of dealing with ‘low-level’ crime.
The attacks damaged people’s homes and cars, and ruined – thankfully only temporarily – parts of our local area with ugly, and often offensive, vandalism.
I am pleased that the neighbourhood policing team acted quickly to identify, locate and arrest the person who they believe committed this crime and he will be in court tomorrow.
Unfortunately, in the past, the police and other public bodies have sometimes seemed to downplay the importance of tackling vandalism, disorder and aggressive behaviour.
Not long after I was first selected as a candidate in Halesowen and Rowley Regis, I met with a local police commander to discuss a number of issues that local people had raised with me. It was clear that that officer viewed dealing with those kinds of problems as being a distraction from tackling what he regarded as proper crimes.
I am a big believer in the ‘broken windows’ theory – the idea that ignoring less serious crimes sends a signal that society tolerates lawlessness and so encourages more frequent and more serious crime. That – and the very real impact that even those ‘less serious’ crimes have on people and our communities – is why it is essential that the police act as strongly and effectively as they did with these graffiti attacks.
I don’t like the phrase anti-social behaviour because it seems to be a way of hiding what is actually going on. The offences it covers range from nuisance and inconsiderate behaviour like dogs barking, which can still make neighbours’ lives a nightmare, through to outright criminality.
Not all “anti-social” behaviour is meant maliciously.
As we approach Halloween, we start to see increasing numbers of young – and not so young – children going door to door.
For some people trick-or-treating is a bit of fun, but others, particularly older people, find it extremely frightening and threatening.
I have produced some window cards for people who do not want trick-or-treaters to call and you can get one by emailing me at email@example.com or calling 0121 550 6777.
I hope that you all have fun this Halloween, but please do show some consideration for the elderly and the vulnerable in our community.
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