As a security company, one of the most frequent complaints we hear is of antisocial behaviour from rowdy, non-residents on the streets outside residential buildings or rough sleepers, who have entered private residential blocks for shelter. And as we approach the winter months, the latter is certainly an issue that is only set to worsen.
This is a sensitive subject and there are two problems to address.
Antisocial behaviour can take many forms including:
* Nuisance and inconsiderate neighbours
* Street drinking
Typically, though not exclusively, the perpetrators will be young people. We often hear from residents that they do not feel safe coming home or leaving their home if they need to walk past large groups of people, especially if these groups are drunk or rowdy.
Their vehicles might also be at risk of vandalism or their building at risk of unsightly graffiti. And the noise disruption from the street once inside also contributes to a stressful home life, impacting on quality of sleep, for example.
In such cases, block management are often called on to sort the issue and restore peace and in turn, it is the job of a competent and experienced security team to resolve the issues by means of guarding, patrolling and/or engaging with the perpetrators to move them on peacefully and help residents feel happy and safe again in their own homes.
Another complaint that we hear is of homeless people entering private blocks. Especially in colder months, those without homes are in need of a warm and dry place to spend the night. However, block residents will argue that this is an infringement of their home rights.
Last year, an estimated 4,751 people slept outside overnight in 2017, up 15% on the previous year with London accounting for almost 25% of all rough sleepers.
It is a sensitive debate because there is a fine line between being a compassionate citizen and knowing that these are society’s most vulnerable and then understanding that private residents have a right to a peaceful and undisturbed home life, without fear or the possibility of antisocial behaviour being brought to their doorstep.
As security companies inevitably receive more calls to eliminate rough sleeping from private blocks this winter, the best companies will understand they have a duty to find the most appropriate solutions to eliminate the problem for residents but in a considered and compassionate way. In real terms, this might mean providing information regarding nearby shelters, handing out leaflets where appropriate or even calling shelters in advance to try and find somewhere they can stay.
If you want to know more about the issues regarding homelessness and how you can help, you can find advice and information from the charity, Shelter: