Loitering is a problem in many areas. Gangs of youths have a tendency to congregate outside houses, making noise and dropping litter. More than just being an inconvenience, the presence of a big gang can be intimidating, especially for older people. Here are some tips to deal with (and hopefully resolve) the problem.
First and foremost, try to keep calm. No matter how threatening they look, most youths are simply passing through and won’t linger outside your house for long. Ignoring them is sometimes the best solution. Escalating the problem or getting into a confrontation can lead to ongoing issues whereby the group returns at a later date. Some younger people thrive on confrontation but quickly lose interest if you don’t pay them any attention. With luck, the situation will simply resolve itself.
Speak to them (if it’s safe)
Before you speak to the group, you should always assess whether it’s safe to do so. For example, if the group has been drinking alcohol or is being aggressive to passersby, you should remain indoors and call the police. If, however, they seem amicable and you think it’s safe to do so, a polite word can work wonders. Remember to keep your distance (and always have a clear route back to your house) but simply asking the youths to move on is sometimes enough.
Install an anti loitering alarm
If the problem persists, you might consider taking further action in the form of an anti loitering sound device. These ingenious devices are a fairly new innovation. They use sound waves to disperse groups of young people. High pitched sounds often can’t be detected by the elderly (who have a reduced hearing range), but are incredibly irritating and nearly unbearable for anybody younger. These alarms are a fantastic way to disperse a group without having to confront them or involve the police.
Contact the police
Reaching out to the police is always an option, however. While there aren’t many laws in place to stop people from standing around on the street, there are some specifically illegal activities. If the youths are sitting on your wall or fence, then they’re trespassing and breaking the law. Similarly, dropping litter and making excess noise (especially at night) is against the law. In these cases, you should contact the police. It helps to keep a diary detailing what happened and when. Any video or photographic evidence is also useful.
Pursue wider solutions
If loitering is a widespread problem throughout the area, it might be time to take action on a larger scale. A neighborhood watch scheme, for example, makes the area feel safer and deters gangs. More innovative solutions include giving young people better places to congregate and even offering them activities likes sports or outdoor gyms.
Loitering usually occurs because young people have nowhere else to go. Tackling the root cause of the problem can make it go away, and you’ll also be doing civic good for your local community. Also, read more articles on Best Digital Updates.