As the coronavirus lockdown continues, the necessary closure of schools, restaurants, and other recreational facilities has left a lot of teenagers struggling to find things to keep them occupied. This boredom may have led to an increase in anti-social behaviour in your neighbourhood, such as loitering, which, although it may not directly involve criminal activities, can still be a nuisance and intimidating. To help prevent anti-social behaviour, read on for a short guide to keeping teenagers out of trouble in your neighbourhood.
- Provide an area where they can gather safely
Teenagers may loiter around your neighbourhood simply because they don’t have anywhere else to go. You may want to discuss with your neighbours setting up a ‘teen friendly’ area where they are welcome to congregate with their friends without being a nuisance to others. This might be in a trusted neighbour’s back garden or on a patch of waste ground. By providing your local teenagers with a designated hang-out spot, they can socialise with their friends in comfort without the risk of becoming a nuisance and disturbing other residents.
To take this one step further, you could provide them with activities. Find boredom-busting solutions to keep your teens out of trouble in your neighbourhood. You might, for example, invest in some outside gym equipment for teenagers – and others in your community – to use. Or, you might decide to organise social and sports clubs for your teens, such as a regular film night or football matches. By setting up fun activities and providing recreational space and facilities, your neighbourhood teens will not only be kept occupied, and out of trouble, but they will feel like valued members of your community.
- Set up a loitering deterrent
The teens loitering in your neighbourhood may unfortunately be more problematic, perhaps engaging in anti-social activities such as drinking excessively, fighting, and being generally rowdy. As such, you may understandably feel intimidated to constantly approach them to move them on, despite desperately wanting a return to peace and quiet. If this is the case, you could try investing in a teenager loitering deterrant, such as a Mosquito alarm. This device works to disperse large gatherings without confrontation by emitting a high-frequency sound. Although this sound is harmless, it is irritating and encourages listeners to move away from the targeted range.
- Set up a neighbourhood watch
Having an active neighbourhood watch in your area can be hugely instrumental in preventing anti-social behaviour, as residents are encouraged to look out for each other and spread information to prevent crimes. Neighbourhood watch schemes are also instrumental in providing support to prevent youth isolation, as data shows that teens are more likely to turn to anti-social behaviour if they feel lonely and isolated. A strong, supportive community will be able to identify when a teen is at risk of slipping into this behaviour and can work together to provide solutions to prevent this from happening and demonstrate that the teen is loved and supported by the whole community.