Cardiff’s anti-social behaviour black spots have been revealed in a new report uncovering the true extent of the problems across the capital.
Caerau Lane in Ely, Cardiff Bay and the city centre have been identified as the three major problem hot spots, with hundreds of anti-social behaviour incidents reported.
Other problem areas include parts of Tremorfa, Splott, Grangetown, Riverside and Cathays which are also highlighted in a major city-wide analysis of anti-social behaviour.
Concerned residents and councillors have told of ongoing problems with drug abuse, binge-drinking and intimidation.
And the issue has been linked to more serious crimes, with one housing expert saying minor noise complaints have developed into cases of grievous bodily harm within weeks if left unaddressed.
South Wales Police Chief Inspector Steve Murray said anti-social behaviour in the city must be dealt with to prevent it “escalating to more serious matters”.
He said: “If anti-social behaviour is left untackled, that will lead to an increase in minor crime, which will then lead to an increase in more serious crime.”
The Welsh capital’s anti-social behaviour black spots are revealed in a council report looking at the local authority’s approach towards tackling the issue.
The report included joint analysis by the council and police of the city’s anti-social behaviour incidents, recorded between January and June last year.
According to online police crime maps, a total of 60 anti-social behaviour reports were recorded in the Caerau Lane area during December last year.
Officers recorded more than 160 incidents in the city centre and more than 50 anti-social behaviour reports in the Cardiff Bay area in the same month.
The report, discussed by councillors at the community and adult services scrutiny committee meeting on Tuesday, calls for greater communication with the police and other bodies to tackle anti-social behaviour.
The committee, chaired by Canton councillor Ramesh Patel, recommends social housing tenants are provided with a dedicated housing officer in order to report issues and that police proactively address noise nuisance complaints received through the 101 out-of-hours service.
It also suggests opportunities to work in partnership with the Cardiff University Centre for Crime, Law and Justice in order to support an evidenced-based approach to allocation of resources and initiatives.
“The problem is that there are different levels of anti-social behaviour. It can start with noise, but it can escalate to violence or gangs hanging around on street corners,” Coun Patel said.
“Sometimes it’s not being dealt with quickly enough and that is why we are saying to the council, police and housing associations that they need to deal with it in a different way.
“The authorities have not been proactive enough – people find they don’t know who to report incidents to and when they do report them, they don’t know what is being done about it.”
According to a Charter Housing representative who contributed to the report, noise complaints have developed into cases of grievous bodily harm if left unaddressed.
Councillor Peter Bradbury, who represents the city’s Caerau ward, said: “There are issues around noise pollution, general loitering and intimidation of constituents and they are being reported more and more.
“This area was a problem spot for drugs and alcohol years ago but the police have done a lot of work to eradicate these problems.”
Coun Bradbury said he welcomed how more homeowners in the area were reporting problems, adding: “Yes, there are problems and we’re not going to talk down these problems, but the report is based on reported cases, and it’s good that people are reporting these issues to the police.”
Butetown councillor Ali Ahmed, whose ward falls within the anti-social behaviour black spot of Cardiff Bay, said he and community members had found syringes during litter-picks.
He said: “[Anti-social behaviour] is a big problem for Cardiff and there is a problem in my ward as well.”
Chief Inspector Murray said officers ensured vulnerable and repeat victims of anti-social behaviour were monitored and prioritised.
He said the force hoped anti-social behaviour in the city would continue to fall following an 18% reduction between 2011-12 and the previous year.
He said: “We are very near the end of this year and it appears the reduction has been delivered and that has been very much through a partnership-focused response.”
A council spokeswoman said: “The council takes anti-social behaviour very seriously and works closely with partner agencies, including South Wales Police to resolve issues. A range of measures are used to combat anti-social behaviour at an early stage, however, where necessary, legal action is taken including eviction of tenants from council properties.
“How the council tackles anti-social behaviour was recently discussed as part of a Scrutiny Task and Finish group.
“The recommendations of this group will now go before the cabinet shortly.”