Herts Ad Comment: We don’t want gang violence on the streets of Harpenden

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It’s easy to laugh off suggestions of gang violence in leafy Harpenden, but the grim reality is much more worrying.

As has long since been the case with out-of-town burglars, young hoodlums appear to have recognised the rich pickings in the area, and are jumping on a train to wreak havoc away from home.

As we report this week, a gang of teenage yobs has been terrorising local youngsters, stealing their belongings and generally causing a menace.

Their obnoxious behaviour, blatant drug taking, and general disrespect for public order might not make them the worst of offenders, but if they remain unchecked there is the potential for them to escalate to more violent crimes.

Some witnesses have already reported seeing them carrying knives, which even if this isn’t true at the moment, may very well be where this teenage crimewave is heading.

This could mean that before too long we’ll see similar incidents to those which have become commonplace on the streets of London happening in Harpenden.

The absolute last thing we want to see anywhere in the district is for young people to then feel they need to carry knives for their own protection. That way lies madness.

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We would argue that there should be an immediate increased police presence in the town to tackle these thugs before they move on to more worrying crimes. This is not kneejerk hysteria, it’s a rational response to what has the potential to be a major problem in Harpenden.

Gangs of suspicious teenagers need to be stopped and searched for drugs and offensive weapons. If that means a few innocent youngsters are checked over then where’s the harm in that if it means the real offenders are caught?

We also have to ask what the town council is doing to curb these sort of activities? Why is Rothamsted Park transformed into some sort of lawless playground for pubescent perpetrators after dark? Where are the park wardens of old? Do we need more CCTV cameras at key locations around the town?

Let’s see a proactive response to this gang situation now, before it gets any worse, and hopefully then we can restore a sense of security to the streets of Harpenden.