THE LOCAL community has been called on take a stand and help Tayside Police crack down on an “unacceptable” increase in “mindless” vandalism across the county.
Chief Superintendent Kevin Lynch, newly appointed Angus commander, has expressed concern at a 19 per cent rise in instances of vandalism in July and August compared with the same period last year.
This equates to 38 more cases of damage to property, up to 237 from 199. While some areas have experienced slight decreases, large rises have been recorded in Arbroath, Carnoustie and Monifieth.
Mr Lynch said the level of vandalism being experienced in local communities is “simply unacceptable”.
He said: “This kind of behaviour is hard for people to bear in any circumstances, but particularly when people have to endure what are challenging economic times.
“It is of great concern to me and these vandals need to realise that it is local people who are directly suffering as a result of their behaviour.
“Vandalism is a mindless act. It causes heartbreak within our communities and affects us all collectively whether we work, live or visit Angus. It is impossible to understand why anyone could mindlessly break a window, kick off a wing mirror, or walk on the bonnet of a car. It causes deep upset to owners and bewilderment to many.”
Mr Lynch added that damage to people’s property “strikes at the heart” of communities, harming people’s sense of community safety and impacting on the appearance of towns and villages for both residents and visitors. He also called on residents to adopt a partnership approach with officers, who will carry out “high profile” foot patrols, to help reduce such incidents.
He said: “They will engage with residents, young people hanging about and will seek to provide a heightened sense of reassurance and community engagement. We will continue to carry out Dry Up patrols and be seen in and around licensed premises at the relevant times.
“Our CCTV staff will also seek to maximise opportunities in terms of intelligence gathering and crime detection.”
Mr Lynch also pledged that appropriate inquiries into reported offences will be carried out and offenders, when identified, will be dealt with “robustly” and he urged the public to report incidents immediately.
He continued: “I want Angus residents to take a stand with us. Please engage with local officers and provide them with any information about such criminality. It is time that we, and I mean all of us in Angus, seek to change the mind-set of people.
“By doing so, those who seem intent on carrying out acts of vandalism will feel the full force of the legal system, but more importantly they will soon come to understand that their behaviour is totally unacceptable.
“By working jointly, police, partner agencies and, most importantly, the communities see a drop in crimes of vandalism and other acts of anti-social behaviour in our towns. That has to be of benefit to us all.”
Mr Lynch added that he intends to increase visible policing in Angus communities and for officers to actively engage with all members of the public.
He said: “I would encourage people to approach our officers and speak with them. If you have any issues, concerns or information about where you live, let them know.”