21 October 2020
A Green councillor is today launching the “One Report Walk”, a campaign encouraging local residents to report one piece of anti-social behaviour on their walks to or from work or the shops, or on the school run. Thorpe Hamlet councillor, Ben Price, has been using his phone to report graffiti and fly-tipping as he has been taking his children to school.
Councillor Price said:
“So many residents are now armed with amazing cameras and internet access in their pockets, through their mobile phones. Since lockdown, and even more recently during curfew where people can still be out but the city is largely quiet, I've noticed a shocking proliferation of graffiti.
“When I see graffiti, I stop, take a picture and report it through the council's website so the council’s contractors can come out and remove it very quickly. I have to say that I'm impressed with the speed at which the graffiti is cleaned up. Graffiti reminds me of the broken windows theory which suggests that visible anti-social behaviour will lead to more serious crimes (1). These small things need to be nipped in the bud. It will make a massive difference if everyone reports just one thing when they see it.”
Graffiti, fly tipping and dog mess are some of the issues which are mentioned to councillors most regularly. Graffitti (2), fly-tipping and a number of other issues such as abandoned cars and damaged bollards can be easily reported through the Norwich City Council website (3). Councillor Price would like to see an army of community champions combatting these nuisances by reporting them in to the council and seeing action taken before the problems get worse.
Councillor Price added:
“If we have an army of community champions out and about in our city, each reporting on issues they come across on their own routes across the city, this will make a massive difference to the council's ability to stem the tide of this explosion of anti-social baheviour. The longer problems are left before they are dealt with, the worse they get and the harder it is to deal with them, so more of the council’s limited resources are used up.”
A successful motion proposed by Green councillors Martin Schmierer and Ben Price in September 2020 called on Norwich City Council to take action against fly-tipping, including having fly-tipping amnesties and evaluating the current kerbside collection system.
Councillor Price first led the community in the fight against graffiti back in January 2018, when he recorded graffiti that had appeared around the city, including on King Street, and asked for the community’s help in finding the perpetrators.
Fly-tipping was widely reported to have increased during lockdown when many recycling centres were closed (4). Green councillors want to prevent graffiti or other forms of anti-social behaviour becoming more common now that streets are quieter.
Councillor Price added to his comments:
“The local community here in Thorpe Hamlet has really come together over the last few months. When I’ve been out talking to people in the ward, they’ve told me about the many new social media groups where neighbours chat about all sorts of things, including their local area. These groups are helpful when the community works together to report anti-social behaviour. I really want to encourage people to report graffiti, dog mess, fly-tiping; anything in their area which needs to be dealt with quickly.”
Members of the public can report graffiti to the city council at https://www.norwich.gov.uk/info/20010/environmental_issues/1259/report_graffiti. Other environmental hazards and nuisances can be reported here: https://www.norwich.gov.uk/info/20342/report_it.
As the Chair of the Safer Neighbourhood Action Panel which covers the city centre, Councillor Price works closely with the police. He commented:
“I am grateful to local officers who have committed a tremendous amount of time and effort to connecting with local residents. It is the police who ultimately have the jurisdiction to apprehend people who vandalise buildings with anti-social graffiti and it is the city council which is responsible for removing the graffiti. As a community, we need to support the council and the police to stem the tide of graffiti and other anti-social behaviour.”
Further information from:
Councillor Ben Price firstname.lastname@example.org