By Andrew Millie
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Significantly, 13,000 reports (20%) came from London (Millie et al. 2005b: 37). Whether this is because ASB is more of an issue in London or because agencies in the capital were better at collating the information is not clear. However, it does hint at a particular urbanity to ASB (of which more is not later). 375bn Total Source: Home Office 2003b. Public perceptions about anti-social behaviour As ASB is such a subjective concept it is important to consider public perception of incidence. The first place to look is the British Crime Survey (BCS)4 which has for a number of years included questions on perceived levels of ASB or disorder.
People’s main concern was with rowdy teenagers at 27 percent. uk McGraw Hill - 152mm x 229mm - Fonts: Stone Sans & Stone Serif JOBNAME: McGraw−Millie PAGE: 6 SESS: 14 OUTPUT: Thu Oct 23 12:09:18 2008 SUM: 569A1472 /production/mcgraw−hill/booksxml/millie/ch2 THE EXTENT AND NATURE OF ASB IN BRITAIN 25 Other worries came a long way behind like vandalism, litter, drug use and public drunkenness (6 to 8% each) and driving offences (4%). The geography of perceived levels of anti-social behaviour If ASB is not a problem for the majority, then the next question concerns those who do suffer.
For instance, in Chapter 1, a former homeless person is quoted as describing ASB as ‘other people’s stuff’. For him ASB equated to others’ behaviours that he personally did not like. If this is what ASB amounts to, then we’d all be guilty (including Durkheim’s saints); after all, we are all capable of doing things that annoy at least someone. The idea of societal norms – and of anomie – was later taken up by Robert Merton (1938). His perspective differed to Durkheim’s in that he viewed anomie as being created by a mismatch between cultural aspirations and the means available to achieve these aspirations.