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A quiet way to beat the yobs; CRIME: Ballot-box style reporting.

Byline: By Barbara Goulden

PEOPLE in Coventry who are fed up with young louts are to get special boxes where they can report nuisance behaviour.

Residents in the Stoke area came up with the unusual idea themselves as a way of combating crime.

The sealed boxes would be put in places such as community centres and would help gather evidence against youngsters causing trouble.

The idea has already won the backing of city councillor John McNicholas and the Coventry Community Safety Partnership - a group comprising police, local authority workers and neighbourhood volunteers.

Cllr McNicholas (Lab, Lower Stoke) said: "Reporting is key to any clampdown on anti-social behaviour."

It was with this view in mind that members of the recently formed Lower Stoke ward forum agreed plans to install special "reporting boxes" in discreet locations where neighbours can post information about what they see happening on the streets.

It could still be some months before the boxes are installed in places like community centres or even doctors' surgeries.

The idea is meant to give people who are afraid to call the police a way of reporting incidents which make their lives a misery.

But already thousands of leaflets are being delivered to homes throughout Lower Stoke which provide a step-by-step guide to reporting incidents.

The leaflets remind everyone of the citywide action line number which can be used to record details of everything from rowdiness to vandalism.

Cllr McNicholas says when the new boxes are installed they will signal: "a community call for action".

He added: "The more evidence that can be gathered on the culprits who commit antisocial behaviour the more chance there will be of tackling the problem.

"The Lower Stoke Forum has been formed to encourage local people to play a central role in bring improvements to the neighbourhood and this is a really positive start."

The citywide action line number is 0845 605 222.

CAPTION(S):

ACTION TIME... Not all young people are yobs, but many folk think it's time to take action against troublemakers' ENTHUSIASTIC... Cllr John McNicholas
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Dec 13, 2006
Words:342
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