RECORDED incidents of anti-social behaviour fell faster in Causeway Coast and Glens than anywhere else in Northern Ireland last year.
According to figures released by the PSNI earlier this month, incidents were down 18.4 percent over the last 12 months.
That meant there were 768 fewer reports made to police, bringing the number of incidents down from 4182 in 2017 to 3414 in 2018.
Compared to last year, all but one of the PSNI's eleven districts showed lower levels of anti-social behaviour.
However, the rate of decline in Causeway Coast and Glens was much faster than the 7.7 percent Northern Ireland average.
Anti-social behaviour incidents may include breaches of the law, but not to a level of severity that would prompt police to record a crime.
The report makes clear that the figures only relate to incidents reported to police and may exclude referrals to other agencies, such as local councils.
The authors caution that they only provide an indication of the true extent of reported anti-social behaviour.
Nevertheless, Causeway Coast and Glens District Commander, Superintendent Jeremy Lindsay said he was pleased by the 18.4 per cent decline and assured the community his officers were working hard to reduce the number even further.
“Anti-social behaviour is an unacceptable activity which can blight the lives of many people,” he told the Chronicle.
“Terms such as ‘nuisance’, ‘disorderly’ and ‘annoyance’ are often used to describe this type of behaviour but those descriptors do not portray how a victim is often left feeling helpless, desperate and with a seriously reduced quality of life.“Anti-social behaviour is an issue that the Police Service takes seriously and is fully committed to working in partnership with both statutory agencies and community representatives to address this needless activity.”
Ulster Unionist Councillor William McCandless said he welcomed the apparent downward trend.
But, he added: “It was Mark Twain who popularised the expression 'lies, damned lies and statistics' and, whilst I am certainly not disparaging the recent statistics published by PSNI, I would like to drill down further to see exactly where the improvements are and if certain areas in Coleraine still require more work.
“In my former role as a logistics manager in Caterpillar I recorded metrics every day and I appreciate the worth of understanding your data and also the importance of doing the job rather than living by the metrics.
“I am still receiving complaints of youths scrambling with motor cycles in the Crescent playing fields and gatherings in Anderson’s Park.
Councillor McCandless concluded: “I am aware of some excellent work done by PSNI community officers locally in Coleraine where they have worked hard with residents living close to the centre of town to apprehend youths who were being a nuisance to senior citizens.
*For more on this see this week's Coleraine Chronicle.