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Saturday, 20 November, 1999, 18:12 GMT
Initiative to fight petty crime
A range of new measures have been announced

New plans to combat petty crime including vandalism and graffiti have been announced by the Home Secretary Jack Straw.

In a speech to the National Neighbourhood Watch Association conference in London, the home secretary said anti-social behaviour heightens people's fear of crime.

"Generalised disorder can sometimes be dismissed as a necessary evil reluctantly to be tolerated."

New measures
Anti-social behaviour orders
Provision for child curfews
Local crime and disorder partnerships
Extension of CCTV
"For many - particularly the elderly and the vulnerable - it can play a major part in heightening their fear of crime. Normal activities like a walk to the shops or a stroll in the park can seem like threatening experiences best avoided - or at least carried out with a degree of trepidation.

"But it's not just individuals who lose out. We all do. The less our parks, streets and public spaces are used by the law-abiding the more likely they are to be abused by those who are not.

Downward spiral

"Without effective checks, those who engage in so-called petty forms of anti-social behaviour will often graduate to more serious criminal behaviour.

Generalised disorder can sometimes be dismissed as a necessary evil reluctantly to be tolerated
Jack Straw
"The result can be a community finding itself in a downward spiral - a spiral which begins with graffiti and vandalism and descends into serious violence and serious property crime."

These will include anti-social behaviour orders for councils and the police to deal with serious and persistent anti-social behaviour - which include jail terms for so-called "neighbours from hell".

Mr Straw also outlined new measures to tackle certain crimes head on.

Communities will be given the power to introduce child curfews which could mean young people being required to be inside during hours of darkness.

More local crime and disorder partnerships will also be set up to find local solutions for local crime problems.

There are currently 375 of these across England and Wales.

The focus will also be on making streets and town centres safer with a 150m extension of CCTV in England and Wales.

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