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What to do About Teenage Gangs

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 4 Oct 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Dealing With Groups Of Teenagers

Merely a day goes by these days without us reading about some instance of anti-social behaviour caused by groups of teenagers congregating in a particular area. It’s important that we don’t tar all teenagers with the same brush, however.

Many teenagers who might congregate near your home often do so because there’s simply no other suitable place to go and hang out. And, in the vast majority of instances, they’re not going to cause trouble or even be remotely interested in your presence if you are, for example, simply passing by them to enter a shop.

However, there will be the odd group who will be out to cause either mischief or to be abusive to passers-by and, in certain instances, the situation could even get out of hand. But the best advice is to avoid any confrontation when Tackling These Teenage Groups. Most of us are only too aware of the horrific crimes that have been perpetrated by anti-social youths which have resulted in severe injuries and even deaths inflicted upon innocent members of the community, including adults.

What Can I Do as a Resident About a Problem?

Because of the many different circumstances that might surround a particular issue, you should not try to tackle the problem of Teenage Anti-Social Behaviour yourself. Even if a gang is verbally abusive towards you, simply avoid acknowledging the behaviour and Contact The Police. Obviously, if they inflict any kind of physical assault on you, you should call the police immediately. The important thing is not to try to tackle the problem yourself. Here are some good reasons why:

  • You’re likely to be far outnumbered
  • While answering them back may get things off your chest, this could escalate the situation to the point where you might be subject to a physical attack
  • They could be carrying weapons, such as knives and even guns, and be prepared to use them
  • They could be high on alcohol and/or drugs and may be oblivious to any subsequent action they might take
  • They might know where you live and target your property as a place to cause further mischief and potentially cause criminal damage to both your property and to you and your family

The key thing you should do is to call the police and leave it to them to deal with.

Gathering Evidence

It can be difficult not to be provoked if a group of teenagers are causing trouble or generally making a nuisance of themselves outside your property or in your immediate neighbourhood, but one useful piece of action you can take is to gather as much information as you can about the group. Some strategies you can use include:

  • Noting times/dates and specific locations of particular problems and making notes of any physical descriptions. Teenagers often wear individual and distinctive clothing, often with logos on so getting descriptions is usually fairly easy.
  • Listening out for any names or ‘nicknames’ that are used in conversation. Note: teenagers tend to talk loudly, especially in gangs or groups so this shouldn’t be too difficult either.
  • If the behaviour is right outside your house, consider capturing some video or camera footage which might help identify them to the police. Only do this from the safety of your home and where you can’t be seen recording. Don’t adopt this latter tactic when you are out in the open where you could be seen by the gang as this is likely to provoke them

The Powers of The Police

If you report an incident of problem teenagers to the police, they will come out and investigate and they have the power to tell people in a group to leave the area and not to return for at least 24 hours (when, of course, it might be necessary to repeat the exercise again).

Further measures can be taken if problems persist. These include asking teenagers to agree to an Acceptable Behaviour Contract and if they contravene that, it can then result in them being issued with an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) and even in prosecution if they do not comply later which could lead to a jail sentence.

Getting The Right Balance

It is important to bear in mind, however, that perfectly law-abiding teenagers can be hanging around in groups anywhere for want of not having anywhere better to congregate, and the police only have the power to intervene where they are causing distress, alarm and/or intimidation to other members of the general public.

If this isn’t the case, police, including local community officers, might still go and have a chat with the group. But if the teenagers are not causing any problems, such as those outlined above, the police must use their discretion when deciding whether or not there is any course of action they can take.

From a resident’s perspective, any issues resulting from anti-social behaviour or criminal activity involving teenagers should be reported to the police, as we are all aware of the tragedies that can come about as a result of trying to tackle this problem individually.

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Morgan - Your Question:
My neighbors put up a fence on their property. No problem. We put up some privacy trees up next to their fence on our property (mostly we enjoy seeing greenery, not fence). Our neighbor, just told us that next year they want to paint their fence, but to paint the once side, they need to access our property. We are not crazy about this idea because they have had many contractors over the past year access our property for various reasons as they are in the process of remodeling their entire house/yard, etc. Their contractors have damaged some of our property and we just want to put an end to this and have asked our neighbors to respect our property boundaries. My question is, "Do we need to legally allow them to access our property in order to paint their fence which is brand new. We would need to place a tarp covering our trees so they don't get pain on them + I am very concerned that their painters would damage our gardening area as they would need to walk through this to gain access to the fence.

Our Response:
No, if it's not "essential" maintenance, you do not need to grant access.
ProblemNeighbours - 5-Oct-16 @ 2:45 PM
My neighbors put up a fence on their property. No problem. We put up some privacy trees up next to their fence on our property (mostly we enjoy seeing greenery, not fence). Our neighbor, just told us that next year they want to paint their fence, but to paint the once side, they need to access our property. We are not crazy about this idea because they have had many contractors over the past year access our property for various reasons as they are in the process of remodeling their entire house/yard, etc. Their contractors have damaged some of our property and we just want to put an end to this and have asked our neighbors to respect our property boundaries. My question is, "Do we need to legally allow them to access our property in order to paint their fence which is brand new. We would need to place a tarp covering our trees so they don't get pain on them + I am very concerned that their painters would damage our gardening area as they would need to walk through this to gain access to the fence.
Morgan - 4-Oct-16 @ 3:20 PM
I've lived in my home for nearly 10 years now and in that time, have never had any issues outside or around my home. However, in the past month, a young man has moved in with his father next door who is now causing groups of up to 10-15 youths to gather on their lawn, on the road and in other peoples gardens and spending the whole day drinking and smoking weed. Their behaviour is constantly aggressive, we're not able to open the front windows of the house any more because of the aggressive & shouty nature of their behaviour but also the stench of weed. They have also taken to climbing on neighbours cars and throwing their rubbish into neighbouring gardens. I have spoken to the council about this and they've asked me to gather evidence in the form of a ASB diary, but I also have photos (and videos in some instances) of this going on. The Police have been called 2-3 times and it'll settle down again for a day or two, then return to this ongoing cycle of large gatherings and anti-social behaviour. The ASB officer for social housing also paid the owner a visit and explained that this would not be tolerated, but it hasn't helped at all. My partner has felt very threatened by these youths and she has also been subjected to insulting gestures and people intentionally blocking her entry into our house. I have confronted the guy who is the centre of all this, but he doesn't respond or react, just turns away, shrugs and walks off - only to return with his mates an hour or so later. I'm at the end of my tether with it - so much so, I've put my house up for sale because I just don't want to be around this any more. My biggest concern is that these youths will put off potential buyer with their behaviour and anti-social nature, so I'm just stuck. My partner & I both commute to London every day for work and we don't get much sleep any more because of this - we feel trapped in our own home and powerless to deal with these idiots. They're not in education and don't work either - so it's constant, every day, every night. Help!!!!!
Bowser - 2-Sep-16 @ 1:51 PM
Who cares especially if its near Halloween trick or treat and it isnt costing you any money or break-ins. Its how they play. If its slander wait until they work in the workplace with you then beat them up and sue the employers for allowing misconduct, and get their adress off the employer if they dont give you it beat employerup as well
will - 24-Apr-16 @ 3:28 PM
They will be moving in next to your property next, its what they do. Half of these kids sound like they would do nothing unless it becomes a daily activity
will - 24-Apr-16 @ 2:47 PM
One teen in particular around where I live constantly harasses/shouts/swears at me and/or my girlfriend whenever we walk by and we are fed up with trying to ignore it. What are my options?
CW - 23-Apr-16 @ 11:15 PM
Do I need permission from my neighbour to replace three wooden panels on my boundary. I don't have to go into their garden from the front, just step one foot in on the boundary to put two screws in?
Julie - 18-Jan-16 @ 6:21 AM
lou lou - Your Question:
A group of teenagers have been throwing stones at me and my neighbours propertyWhat should I do?

Our Response:
Call your local police/PCSO.
ProblemNeighbours - 15-Oct-15 @ 12:10 PM
A group of teenagers have been throwing stones at me and my neighbours property What should I do?
lou lou - 14-Oct-15 @ 3:53 PM
@izzy. If the behaviour is as bad as you suggest, it's a matter for the police.
ProblemNeighbours - 16-Jul-15 @ 2:40 PM
I have a group of youths ages are between 8- 13. They have been harrassing me and my two kids. They have been throwing rocks, bricks and stones at my kids. They throw stones at my windows. They accuse my kids of kicking a dog and throwing a jacket in a dog waste bin. They swear and call names to us and gather around where my kids are playing. I dont know what to do.
izzy - 13-Jul-15 @ 1:23 AM
The other side of my fence is a neighbours concrete drive. the weeds that are growing on his side of the fence he says are mine and I need to come and clear them. He says that as his concrete drive is his property and the weeds are growing in soil they are mine. Is it my resposability to go onto his property and clear these weeds?
Elle - 26-Jun-15 @ 3:11 PM
Loads of problems coming from a problem family who likes to spread rumours and lie about others they lies especially t will get her in trouble when there went on holiday was a blessing All should be given a asbo. Causing problems with neighbours people got the right t I told Iive in peace
kathy - 29-May-15 @ 12:16 PM
I own an end terrace house.There is a small piece of land at the side of my house where a house years ago used to be.This house was demolished around 1990.A neighbour who is related to the previous owner of the house has put up a fence which means I have no access, ie to paint my end gable.According to land registry, this piece of land is not owned by anyone.I just want to access this land to enable painters to do their job What can I do????
Pat - 20-Nov-14 @ 6:39 PM
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