He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme at least half of police forces found it "very difficult" to identify repeat victims of anti-social behaviour.
He said being unable to track a pattern of complaints made it hard to tackle the "chronic illness that causes corrosive harm in communities".
The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating the case of Fiona Pilkington who killed herself and her severely disabled daughter after suffering sustained anti-social behaviour in Leicestershire.
Police there were called 33 times in seven years to reports of abuse, vandalism and violence by local youths.
Policing minister David Hanson told the BBC one of the lessons of that "tragic case" was to ensure cases were followed up by police and local councils, then tracked.
He said minimum standards were being introduced "across the board" with a new tracking system that would flag up any earlier complaints.
Fiona Pilkington killed herself and her daughter, Francecca, after abuse
"They're low level issues very often, but they can be quite serious and they will blight people's lives and we have a duty to take things seriously," he said.
A survey of forces by the Inspectorate found that in 23% of incidents of anti-social behaviour officers did not turn up.
Almost all the victims in these cases said they were dissatisfied with the explanation given.
Where police did attend, confidence in the police increased.
Mr O'Connor said the distinction between crime and anti-social behaviour was "artificial" and urged police to take it more seriously.
He said: "I think this undermines confidence if it is not dealt with seriously, confidence not just in the police but in general.
"It is partly an individual thing but it also has a wider effect on the community, it adds an air of futility in public."
Derrick Campbell, an adviser to the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), told the BBC it was time the issue of anti-social behaviour was made a priority.
"When we see individuals or gangs of individuals terrorising neighbourhoods, stealing cars, throwing stones at windows, the police have a duty to respond," he said.
"What we are asking for is that the decision makers within the police force ensure that decent people are allowed to live their lives in peace and safety and the police are there as an instrument to the state to ensure that that happens."
Acpo president, Sir Hugh Orde, said the problem could only be fully solved with better links between organisations.
"The more we engage with partners, the more we have long-term solutions which actually work," he told the Today programme.
In terms of overall performance, the Inspectorate assessed each constabulary in three categories - local crime and policing; protection from serious harm; confidence and satisfaction.
Nottinghamshire was graded "poor" on all three criteria - the worst-performing force.
It also had the highest number of violent assaults per 1,000 residents - 11.6.
Greater Manchester Police - which had the highest rate of vehicle crime - was adjudged to be performing poorly in two areas, and Lincolnshire was ranked poor in the local crime and police section.
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