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People feel less safe in community, survey shows

27 April, 2007

Many people feel less safe in their homes and there is a huge demand for increased Garda patrols in local neighbourhoods according to a survey carried out by Sinn Féin across Dublin City on the issue of anti-social behaviour. The findings are to be used by Sinn Féin TDs and councillors to press local authorities and the Government to address the problems highlighted.

Commenting on the findings of the survey, Sinn Féin Councillor and Dublin North East electon candidate, Larry O'Toole, who is also Deputy Chair of Dublin City Council's Joint Policing Committee, said:

"In recent months Sinn Féin has carried out a survey at 21 locations across Dublin on people's attitudes and experience of anti-social behaviour. Of just under 1,000 householders who responded, 54% feel less safe in their home and community, with less than a quarter feeling safer than a year ago.

"An overwhelming number of respondents (95.2%) believe that full-time Gardai are preferable to part-timers and that more Gardai are needed on the beat. Drugs, drug-dealing, public drunkeness, threats and intimidation are the major elements of the anti-social behaviour which people complained about.

"The locations most identified wth anti-social activity are pubic parks, laneways, stairwells, halls and balconies, shopping centres, street corners, pubs, chippers and open or green spaces. A huge amount of respondents (82.5%) said that more facilities are needed to divert our young people away from anti-social behaviour.

"The findings of this survey should come as no surprise, as the issues identified have been known for some considerable time and have been regularly raised by community representatives with the government and local authorities.

"The quality of life for many people in communities, not just in Dublin, but across the state, is impaired on a daily basis through intimdation in their neighbourhoods. This problem has escalated under the current Government and there is no sense that it is receiving the urgent attention it requires.

"Government responses to community pleas for help have included the introduction of the ASBO idea — a proven failure where it was tried in Britain, and Michael McDowell's resrve Garda force, a flawed measure which our survey shows is much less preferable than full-time Gardaí in the community.

"Sinn Féin will use these survey findings to demand urgent action to tackle the scourge of anti-social behaviour. This is undoubtedly an election issue and we intend to raise, at all levels, the concerns people have expressed, to ensure that there is an adequate and holistic response which is aimed at building safer and healthier neighbourhoods for all our citizens." ENDS

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