Tuesday, April 06, 2010

because you're young

The West Yorkshire Police Authority are doing a survey of perception of crime in the region. They want to 'gauge current levels of satisfaction with policing and identify any changes you might want to see'.

It asks about burglary, assault, that sort of thing.

WYPA crime survey

But look at section 5, 'Disorder/ Anti Social Behaviour concerns'. It wants to know how much of a problem West Yorkshire people perceive with:

- drunk and rowdy behaviour
- traffic issues eg speeding, inconsiderate parking
- vandalism, graffiti and other deliberate damage to property or vehicles
- teenagers hanging around the streets
- noisy neighbours or loud parties
- rubbish or litter lying around
- abandoned/burnt out cars

In the words of the venerable Sesame Street, one of these kids is doing their own thing. Six of the listed activities are anti-social. One of them is people being young in public.

We're not talking about young people making mess, damaging stuff, nor shouting at you or each other. All of those are covered by littering, vandalism and rowdy behaviour. We are just talking about the presence of young people being in and of itself disorderly and anti-social.

Yes, they're a demonised group so people fear them, and we're surveying perception and fear of crime. But black men are also commonly perceived as threatening, so why isn't there a question about 'black men being on the streets'?

Being young is not a crime. Not even being young in public when you're not obviously on your way somewhere.

We continually exaggerate the fears of youth and tell ourselves that we weren't like that in our day. Even though there were muggings and mindless vandalism then too. Tabloids talk of the unspecified yet potent threat from 'hoodies', meaning the millions of young people of various dispositions who wear a predominant garment of the day.

In the early 90s there was a wave of legislation, fed by tabloid scare stories, against raves. There was no reason that fits the evidence, other than brewers disliking youngsters having alcohol-free fun and, again, that mindset that believes young people are definitely feral and probably rabid.

Why doesn't the crime survey ask about old people hanging round the streets? They often seem to be dawdling, rather than using the streets for their implied sole legitimate purpose of going briskly from one place to another.

They are commonly seen brandishing sticks and other potential weapons, the like of which would be confiscated from young people. They tool up with 'zimmer frames', practically bullbars of the pavement.

You know that if they attacked you with these implements and you went to court they'd get let off by soft-touch judges giving in to politically correct nonsense, saying old folks are not responsible for their actions because of their dementia or the cocktails of prescribed medicines most of them are on. If they're out of control on drugs that's all the more reason to lock them up.

How much longer must the hard-working young people suffer at the hands of this geriatric menace?

1 comment:

Martin Porter said...

I dare you to tell them your main concern is none violent direct action and that you think they should spend less time catching burglars and more time beating up hippies.