Council workers have shared their frustration at trying to tackle anti-social behaviour when people are too afraid to report what’s going on.
Residents raised concerns about drug problems and threatening behaviour at blocks of flats in Whitehawk and Hollingdean during housing panel meetings where tenants’ representatives meet with councillors and housing officials.
Labour councillor Theresa Fowler, who represents Hollingdean and Stanmer on Brighton and Hove City Council, said that she was told that a child had trodden on a syringe outside a block of flats in her ward.
In Whitehawk, residents were concerned about people using drugs, loitering and urinating in the stairways of blocks at the north end of the estate.
Despite being urged to report the problems to the community engagement and housing teams, as well as to the police, many remain silent.
Council housing manager Janet Dowdell said that people needed to tell the housing team or police so that the authorities could understand what was going on and where.
She said: “We have a block security housing officer working on a project for the whole of the city.
“If residents are reporting intruders or drug-taking in blocks, we work in a multi-agency way with police and other outreach services to address it.
“If it’s not reported to us, we remain unaware of the problems in the blocks. It’s important to report it to the police or housing customer services.
“It doesn’t mean they’ll always get attendance (but) every report is plotted as an issue. The more reports we get, the more understanding we have about what’s going on in the area.”
Conservative councillor Mary Mears, who represents Rottingdean Coastal ward, received a call about problems in Whitehawk housing blocks and advised the resident to report the issues formally.
She asked for more of a presence from housing officers in council blocks to deter anti-social behaviour and to deal with clutter in the hallways.
Councillor Mears said: “Many of the floors going through the blocks have prams, plants in common ways … there was a real issue with this when the fire authority wanted the landings clear.
“A housing officer presence would give tenants the confidence to report it.”