A SHOCKING new report says fear of crime is making Dudley’s teenagers feel unsafe on the streets.

The report, called Growing Up in Dudley, was commissioned by Dudley Council and produced by research organisations Frame and Yellobrick.

It finds that, while younger children appreciate the borough’s green spaces, libraries and leisure facilities, teenagers can be less happy with their home borough.

Josh, aged 16, told researchers: “Dudley is a place you want to pass through, not live in” while 14-year-old Ben added: “The best thing about Dudley is its vape shops.”

The report says while some young people enjoy sports the poor state of facilities can be an issue and the lack of affordable activities means some teens spend time alone in front of screens, hanging around in public places and vaping or smoking cannabis.

Maisie, aged 15, said: “There’s nothing else to do, so you just go out with your friends to a fast-food restaurant. That’s money that a lot of people don’t have. And also, it’s unhealthy.”

Jonah, 14, added: “There’s nothing to do except vape, really. There are loads of vape shops, and it’s easy to get vapes without ID.”

Feeling unsafe is described as a ‘pressing concern’ for young people, 14-year-old Marley admitted gangs in his local park prevent him from going.

He said: “There are gangs in the parks, so we can’t go. Me and my missus want to take her little sister, who has Down’s Syndrome, but we don’t go…it’s not safe.”

Gangs and knife crime are identified as problems, Zane, aged 15, said: “Being a young person can be nerve-racking in Dudley; the bus station and the market don’t feel safe, especially on weekends. There are always fights.” 

Emmanuel, 17, added: “Most things are walking distance from my house. Like, I walk to the gym…Sometimes, it doesn’t feel safe walking. 

“Safety depends on the time of day and place, particularly the bus station, as that’s where people go to chill, smoke and drink. 

“It’s uncomfortable walking past and I worry about knives.” 

The report acknowledges the issues and adds that young women and members of the LGBTQ+ regularly experience harassment in their daily lives.

Dr Mayada Abuaffan, Dudley’s director of public health and wellbeing, said: “Whilst this report gives us valuable insight into Dudley’s families’ and children’s feelings, this is not the end of our journey as we want to continue the conversation of improvement. 

“The findings here are a starting point for the next chapter to further develop and shape services to support the wellbeing needs of the populations we serve.”