Local BBC Sites

Page last updated at 10:47 GMT, Friday, 25 June 2010 11:47 UK
Do you cross the street when you see a group of hoodies?
People feel intimidated by gangs of 'hoodies'
People feel intimidated by gangs of 'hoodies'

Young people are often given a bad name in the news for hanging around in gangs and intimidating passers-by.

In June 2010 a report from the Council of Europe damned the use of 'Mosquitoes' - high frequency sounds used to disperse teenagers. They call them "degrading and discriminatory" and say the devices violate legislation which prohibits torture.

In 2009 youth charity The Jack Petchey Foundation found that almost one in four adults over 26 say they feel uneasy when they see young people on the street, and many cross the road to avoid them.

They say adults should acknowledge today's young people, recognise their success and give them opportunities instead of brandishing them all 'yobs' and 'hoodies'.

Emotion map for Sheffield
Maps show emotional responses at different points on the walk

Researchers from Sheffield consultancy Cadence Works conducted an 'Emotion Mapping' study to measure people's reactions to hoodies; how we feel when we see a gang of youths in different scenarios - from our cars, on the bus, cycling or walking past.

The research was commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation to find out how people feel about where they live and how our emotions are affected by external and environmental characteristics. Find out more about the study.

"We want to find out if different degrees of contact mean that 'hoodies' at one end of the scale can actually be seen as 'goodies' at the other," explains social geographer Sarah Murphy who did the research.

There are videos of various 'hoodie scenarios' on the Cadence Works website. Take part here.

"Fear of the unknown is a big factor in determining how people feel about anti-social behaviour and youths on the street," explains Sarah.

Listen to young people's views on being branded 'hoodies'

"Everyone seems to think young people need somewhere to go, but where? There is a feeling that streets are better 'cleansed' of youths - but paradoxically there are not many proactive attempts to provide spaces which are appropriate for them to hang around."

Shopkeepers on Abbeydale Road in Sheffield told the researchers about anti-social behaviour problems, especially in the Sharrow area:

"Some felt that as London and Abbeydale Roads have lost footfall, anti-social behavior has gone unchecked but they also felt that the area has improved," says Sarah. "They also say there isn't much for young people round here and that more youth clubs may give them something better to do than hanging about on corners."

Give young people a chance

Chilypep is a Sheffield organisation that works with young people. Chief Executive Lesley Pollard says that being negative about young people does not help anyone:

"If all they hear about themselves is that they're disrespectful, up to no good and useless then that's what they believe."

In a separate project, a young person from Sheffield attempted to trump the idea that all young people in hoodies are vandals and thieves who steal, drink and take drugs.

16-year-old Ross Kalim of Club 66 youth group in Woodseats filmed interviews with the public, the police, the church and councillors about their perceptions of young people.

"The general view was, 'he's got a hood up, he's wearing trainers and tracksuit bottoms, he's trouble.' But we don't want to be stereotyped like that," says Ross.

"Only 17% of crime is committed by under-17-year-olds with hoods up. That means 83% of crime is being committed by other people, not us."

The finished film was was met with interest and positivity when presented to the Mayor of Sheffield and other councillors.

"Knife and gun crime are getting bigger and the police want to tackle young people before we get too big to handle. But we're not all the same - there are a few bad youths out there but we're not all like that, there are people who are willing to make a change in society and make a better name for us."

Your emotions - on a map
16 Dec 09 |  People & Places
The yoof of today
16 Dec 09 |  People & Places


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific