ANTI-SOCIAL behaviour in Petworth has increased by 400 per cent in the last year.
Between May 2013 and June 2014, anti-social behaviour increased fourfold, going from four reported incidents in May 2013, to 19 in July 2014.
There were 166 reported incidents regarding anti-social behaviour in the Petworth and Bury ward in this 14-month period.
The number of all reported crimes has more than doubled per month, with 14 reported in May 2013, compared to 35 in June this year, and 22 in July.
In July, the policing team said residents had ‘stated that anti-social behaviour is on the increase’.
PCSO for the north of Petworth area, Richard Boston, said his team had been taking action over the past three months to tackle the issue.
“We have been conducting patrols and it doesn’t seem to be an issue at the moment,” he said. “It has certainly reduced significantly since we have been taking action, and people in the area are very happy with the result.”
Prospective town councillor Joan Devine, making her case for a place on the council, said: “I am concerned about the increase in anti-social behaviour in the town.”
But town councillor Tony Sneller stressed Petworth was one of the lowest crime areas in the country.
Even though the percentage rise in anti-social behaviour was high, the figures were still small compared to other areas.
“A typical explanation for this could be the summer evenings,” he said.
Of all the crimes in the area, anti-social behaviour made up some 41.19 per cent of those reported in the past year, compared to 12.41 per cent burglary and 10.67 per cent of violent and sexual offences.
In the 14-month period, police say 173 crimes required no further action, 22 incidents were under investigation, 14 crimes saw the offender dealt with at court and 19 offenders were dealt with by police.
A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “Across the Chichester district, reports of antisocial behaviour have fallen.
“Nevertheless, we are determined to reduce this further.
“Anti-social behaviour can cause misery to victims so that even if individual incidents may be minor, the long-term cumulative effect of them can be very upsetting to people in the community.”
Petworth town councillors and residents can meet the town’s police support community officers for their regular neighbourhood panel meeting on October 8.
They are expected to discuss the issue at the meeting. The venue will be confirmed nearer the time.