Location of Repository

Understanding public perceptions of anti-social behaviour: problems and policy responses

By Victoria Heap


Anti-social behaviour (ASB) has emerged as a major community safety concern over the past decade. Reducing the number of incidents of ASB and lessening the impact these have upon the publics’ quality of life have become key components of criminal justice policy. The British Crime Survey has provided evidence of the types of ASB being experienced and quantified the proportion of people perceiving high levels of ASB in their local area. This research suggests strong links between high levels of deprivation and perceiving high levels of ASB. Attempts have also been made to determine what factors drive these perceptions, in order to produce evidence-based ASB reduction policies.\ud \ud This thesis builds upon existing research into public perceptions of ASB by exploring public perceptions in-depth, using a mixed methods strategy. A three phase, explanatory sequential design was employed. Phase one quantified public perceptions in selected hardpressed ACORN areas. These findings were utilised to inform the topics for further qualitative elaboration in phase two. The third phase qualitatively explored how practitioners address public perceptions of ASB. Inferences were generated from all three phases of data collection, providing a holistic, coherent and contextualised discussion of potential policy implications of the findings.\ud \ud The findings presented within this thesis uncover new attitudinal based factors that are statistically and independently associated with public perceptions of ASB. In addition, primary and secondary drivers of public perceptions were qualitatively identified in the hardpressed areas studied. New insight has also been provided into the methods practitioners use to address public perceptions, particularly into the difficulties associated with measuring perceptions and the reciprocal relationship that exists between practitioners and the public.\ud \ud The inferences generated suggest that public perceptions of ASB are complex, with the factors influencing perceptions often interconnected. This thesis calls for greater strategic clarification regarding the role perceptions play in ASB policy, in order for accurate, locally\ud applicable perception measurement to be achieved and a reduction in perceived high levels of ASB to be obtained

Topics: H1, HV
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.hud.ac.uk:9209

Suggested articles



  1. (2004). (eds) New Horizons in British Urban Policy – Perspectives on New Labour’s Urban Renaissance.
  2. (2007). 1000 Practitioner Voices, Research Study Conducted for the Respect Taskforce. Available at: http://www.asb.homeoffice.gov.uk/uploadedFiles/Members_site/Documents_and_images/Re sources/PractitionerVoicesSurvey0090(1).pdf. Accessed
  3. (1966). A Differential Association-Reinforcement Theory of Criminal Behaviour,
  4. (1995). A Quiet Life: Tough Action on Criminal Neighbours. London: Labour Party.
  5. (1989). A Study of the Impact of Cofounder-Selection Criteria on Effect Estimation.
  6. (2004). Acceptable Behaviour Contracts Addressing Anti-Social Behaviour in the London Borough of Islington. Home Office Online Report 02/04. London: Home Office.
  7. (2006). ACORN User Guide. London: CACI Limited. Available at; www.caci.co.uk/download.aspx?path=/libraries/document/394.pdf
  8. (1994). Acting As We Feel: When and How Attitudes Guide Behaviour’,
  9. (2007). Active Citizenship in the Governance of Anti-Social Behaviour in the UK: Exploring the Non-Reporting of Incidents.
  10. (2008). Address Point’, Ordnance Survey Website. Available at: http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/oswebsite/products/addresspoint/. Accessed
  11. (2006). Advancing Knowledge about the Early Prevention of Adult Antisocial Behaviour’,
  12. (2005). An Evaluation of Reidvale Housing Association Community Policing Initiative. Glasgow: Reidvale Housing Association.
  13. (2007). Analyzing Qualitative Data.
  14. (2007). Anti-Social Behaviour Orders: Statistics. Home Office Crime Reduction Website. Available at:
  15. (2000). Anti-Social Behaviour Orders’,
  16. (2005). Anti-Social Behaviour Strategies – Finding a Balance.
  17. (1998). Anti-Social Behaviour Strategies – Individualistic or Holistic?
  18. (2008). Anti-Social Behaviour, Behavioural Expectations and an Urban Aesthetic.
  19. (2004). Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime Control and Social Control. The Howard
  20. (2006). Anti-Social Behaviour: Concerns of Minority and Marginalised Londoners.
  21. (2007). Anti-Social Behaviour: People, Place and Perceptions.
  22. (2006). Anti-Social Behaviour: Voices from the Front Line, in
  23. (2009). Anti-Social Behaviour.
  24. (1995). Applied Logistic Regression Analysis.
  25. (1989). Applied Logistic Regression.
  26. (2005). ASBOs: An Analysis of the First Six Years.
  27. (2000). Assessing the Cost-Effectiveness of Measures to Deal with Anti-Social Neighbour Behaviour: Discussion
  28. (2007). Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4074760.stm. Accessed
  29. (2010). Available at: http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/pns/DisplayPN.cgi?pn_id=2010_0008. Accessed
  30. (2007). Barriers to Integrating Quantitative and Qualitative Research.
  31. (2003). Beyond Community: Reactions to Crime and Disorder Among Inner-City Residents.
  32. (2001). British Crime Survey. Findings 145. London: Home Office.
  33. (1982). Broken Windows: The Police and Neighbourhood Safety. Atlantic Monthly
  34. (2006). Can Intergenerational Practice Offer a Way of Limiting Anti-Social Behaviour and Fear of Crime? The Howard
  35. (2004). Census Area Statistics’ Office for National Statistics Neighbourhood Statistics Website. Available at: http://www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/. Accessed
  36. (2008). Challenge and Support Areas Announced’. Respect Website News. Available at: http://www.asb.homeoffice.gov.uk/members/news/article.aspx?id=12286. Accessed
  37. (2010). Children, School and Families
  38. (2007). Children, Schools and Families
  39. (2006). Code of Ethics for Researchers in the Field of Criminology’.
  40. (1977). Comparison of Stopping Rules in Forward Regression.
  41. (1994). Competing Paradigms in Qualitative Research’,
  42. (2004). Computer-aided Multivariate Analysis (4th Edn). Boca Raton: Chapman and Hall/CRC.
  43. (2009). Conflicting findings in mixed methods research: An Illustration from an Israeli Study on Immigration.
  44. (1984). Contacts Between Police and Public: Findings from the British Crime Survey. Home Office Research Study number 77. London: Home Office.
  45. (2003). Contractual Governance’ of Deviant Behaviour.
  46. (1998). Crime and Disorder Act
  47. (1999). Crime and Disorder ACT 1998: Section17. A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing? Crime Prevention and Community Safety:
  48. (1999). Crime and Disorder Act: Guidance on Anti-Social Behaviour Orders. London: Home Office.
  49. (2009). Crime in England and Wales 2008/09. Volume 1; Findings from the British Crime Survey and Police Recorded Crime. Home Office Statistical Bulletin 11/09. London: Home Office.
  50. (2008). Criminal Justice and Criminology Research Methods.
  51. (2010). Criminological Theory: A Text/Reader.
  52. (2004). Criminology: A Sociological Introduction.
  53. (2007). Criminology: An Interdisciplinary Approach.
  54. (1970). Cultural Indicators: The Case of Violence in Television Drama.
  55. (2004). Defining and Measuring Anti-Social Behaviour. Home Office Development and Practice Report 26. London: Home Office.
  56. (1993). Defining Deviancy Down.
  57. (1993). Defining Deviancy Up.
  58. (2007). Designing and Conducting Mixed Methods Research.
  59. (2000). Discovering Statistics Using SPSS For Windows.
  60. (1990). Disorder and Decline – Crime and the Spiral of Decay in American Neighbourhoods. Los Angeles:
  61. (2006). Does Crime Just Move Around the Corner? A Controlled Study of Spatial Displacement and Diffusion of Crime Control Benefits.
  62. (2005). Effectiveness of a Dispersal Order to Reduce ASB Among Young People: A Case Study Approach
  63. (2008). Engaging Communities in Fighting Crime: A Review by Louise Casey. London: Crown Copyright.
  64. (2003). Everyday Incivility: Towards a Benchmark.
  65. (1982). Experimental Demonstrations of the ‘Not So Minimal’ Consequences of Television News Programs.
  66. (2010). Explaining and Sustaining the Crime Drop: Clarifying the Role of Opportunity Related Theories. Crime Prevention and
  67. (2009). Exploration of Local Variations in the Use of Anti-Social Behaviour Tools and Powers. London: Crown Copyright.
  68. (2002). Figurational Contributions to the Sociology of Sport’,
  69. (2006). Fixing Broken Promises? Neighbourhood Wardens and Social Capital.
  70. (1997). Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order and Reducing Crime in Our Communities.
  71. (2004). Focus Group Research’,
  72. (1994). Focus Groups: A Practical Guide for Applied Research (2nd Edn).
  73. (2002). Folk Devils and Moral Panics (3rd Edn).
  74. (2007). Forty areas appointed to lead the Respect programme’, Respect Website. Available at: www.respect.gov.uk/members/news/article.aspx?id=9796. Accessed
  75. (1967). Foundations of Social Psychology.
  76. (2006). Governing Neighbours: Anti-Social Behaviour Orders and New Forms of Regulating Conduct in the UK.
  77. (2006). Governing Tenants: From Dreadful Enclosures to Dangerous Places’, in
  78. Home Office (2009a) Anti-Social Behaviour Orders: Statistics. Home Office Crime Reduction Website. Available at:
  79. Home Office (2009b) Communicating for Confidence: A Practical Guide. London: Home Office.
  80. (1983). Hooligan – A History of Respectable Fears.
  81. (2005). House of Commons Home Affairs Committee
  82. (2008). Housing Market Renewal and Social Class.
  83. (1991). How Many Subjects Does it Take to do a Regression Analysis?
  84. (1997). Human Development and Criminal Careers’,
  85. (2006). Hybrid Law and Human Rights – Banning and Behaviour Orders in the Appeal Courts.
  86. (2009). I don’t say that bored kids hanging about are bad, but they are scary!’
  87. (2002). Implementing Anti-Social Behaviour Orders: Messages for Practitioners.
  88. (2002). Implementing Anti-Social Behaviour Orders: Messages for Practitioners. Findings 160. London: Home Office.
  89. (2002). Increasing response rates to postal questionnaires.
  90. (2007). Institute for Brain Injured Children
  91. (1999). Interviewing for Social Scientists.
  92. (2000). Interviewing: A Practical Guide for Students and Professionals.
  93. (2003). It’s the Family, Stupid: Continuities and Reinterpretations of the Dysfunctional Family as the Cause of Crime in Three Political Periods’,
  94. (2006). Labelling: Constructing Definitions of Anti-Social Behaviour?’
  95. (2007). Looking for Anti-Social Behaviour.
  96. (2006). Maintaining an Arm’s Length? Housing, Community Governance and the Management of ‘Problematic’ Populations.
  97. (2003). Major Issues and Controversies in the Use
  98. (2003). Major Issues and Controversies in the Use of Mixed Methods in the Social and Behavioural Sciences’,
  99. (2005). Making People Behave – Anti-Social Behaviour, Politics and Policy.
  100. (1996). Making Sense of Qualitative Data: Complementary Research Strategies. Thousand Oaks:
  101. (2008). Measuring User Satisfaction - Definitions and Guidance 2008/09. London: Home Office.
  102. (2007). Media-Made Criminality: The Representation of Crime in the Media’,
  103. (2010). Mixed Method Research in Criminology: Why Not Go Both Ways?’,
  104. (1998). Mixed Methodology: Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches.
  105. (1979). Mixing qualitative and quantitative methods: Triangulation in action.
  106. (1991). Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age.
  107. (2009). Moral Panics: Its Origins in Resistance, Ressentiment and The Translation of Fantasy in to Reality. doi
  108. (2001). Moral Values, Social Trust and Inequality – Can Values Explain Crime?
  109. (2006). Neighbourhood Security and Urban Change: Risk, Resilience and Recovery.
  110. (1998). Neighbouring on the Oppressive: The Government’s ‘Anti-Social Behaviour Order’ Proposals.
  111. (2003). New Labour; Crime Control and Social Exclusion’, in
  112. (2003). Nuisance Offenders: Scoping the Public Policy Problems’,
  113. (2009). Once a Criminal, Always a Criminal?: ‘Redeemability and the Psychology of Punitive Public Attitudes.
  114. (2003). Order Born Out of Chaos? The Capacity for Informal Social Control
  115. (2004). Perceptions and Experience of Anti-Social Behaviour: Findings from the 2003/2004 British Crime Survey. Home Office Online Report 49/04. London: Home Office.
  116. (2006). Perceptions and Experience of Anti-Social Behaviour: Findings from the 2004/2005 British Crime Survey. Home Office Online Report 21/06. London: Home Office.
  117. (2008). Perceptions of Anti-Social Behaviour: Findings from the 2007/08 British Crime Survey. Supplementary Volume 1 to Crime in England and Wales 2007/08. Home Office Statistical Bulletin 15/08. London: Home Office.
  118. (2009). Place Survey
  119. (2000). Policing Anti-Social Behaviour. Police Research Series Paper 123. London: Home Office.
  120. (2009). Policing Pledge. Policing Pledge Homepage. Available at: http://www.policingpledge.co.uk/. Accessed
  121. (1978). Policing the Crisis.
  122. (1969). Principles of Behaviour Modification.
  123. (2007). Problem’ People, ‘Problem’ Places? New Labour and Council Estates’, in
  124. (1996). Protecting Our Communities: Labour’s Plans for Tackling Criminal, AntiSocial Behaviour in Neighbourhoods. London: Labour Party.
  125. (2004). Public Opinion and Community Penalties’,
  126. (2005). Publicising Anti-Social Behaviour Orders. Home Office Guidance, Mar. London: Home Office.
  127. (2004). Punishment and Politics – Evidence and Emulation in the Making of English Crime Control Policy.
  128. (2002). Real World Research (2nd Edn).
  129. (2009). Redefining Justice: Addressing the Individual Needs of Victims and Witnesses. London: Crown Copyright.
  130. (2005). Report by Mr Alvaro Gil-Robles, Commissioner for Human Rights, on his visit to the United Kingdom,
  131. (2003). Respect and Responsibility – Taking a Stand Against Anti-Social Behaviour. Government White Paper. London: Home Office.
  132. (2009). Respect and the Politics of Behaviour’
  133. Respect Taskforce (2006a) Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour: The Story So Far and The Move to Respect. London: Respect Taskforce.
  134. Respect Taskforce (2006b) Respect Action Plan. London: Respect Taskforce.
  135. Respect Taskforce (2006c) Respect Standard for Housing Management: A Guide for Landlords. London: Respect Taskforce.
  136. (2006). Respectability, Roughness and ‘Race’: Neighbourhood Place Images and the Making of Working-Class Social Distinctions in London.
  137. (2006). Respectable or Respectful? (In)Civility and the City.
  138. (2006). Responding to Young People’s Involvement in Anti-Social Behaviour: A Study of Local Initiatives in Manchester and Glasgow.
  139. (2005). Rethinking ASBOs.
  140. (2000). Ruling Out Trouble: Anti-Social Behaviour and Housing Management.
  141. (2010). Safe and Confident Neighbourhoods Strategy: Next Steps in Neighbourhood Policing. London: Crown Copyright.
  142. (2005). Sentencing and Criminal Justice (4th edn). Cambridge:
  143. (2004). Signal Crime and Signal Disorders: Notes on Deviance as Communicative Action.
  144. (1964). Social Deviance: Social Policy: Action and Research.
  145. (1977). Social Learning Theory. Englewood Cliffs,
  146. (2004). Social Research Methods (2nd Edn).
  147. (2005). Soveriegnty, Biopolitics and the Local Government of Crime
  148. (1999). Systematic Social Observation of Public Spaces: A New Look at Disorder in Urban Neighbourhoods.
  149. (2007). Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour - The Together Campaign’. Westminster City Council Website. Available at: www.westminster.gov.uk/services/communityandliving/communitysafety/begging. Accessed
  150. (2003). Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour in Mixed Tenure Areas.
  151. (2002). Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour: What Really Works.
  152. (2007). Tackling AntiSocial Behaviour in Glasgow: An Evaluation of Policy and Practice in the Glasgow Housing Association. Glasgow: Glasgow Housing Association.
  153. (1995). Television Violence: The Power and the Peril’,
  154. (1994). The Civilizing Process (Revised Edn).
  155. (1998). The Crime and Disorder Act
  156. (2003). The Crime Drop in Britain?
  157. (2001). The Culture of Control: Crime and Social Order in Contemporary Society.
  158. (2010). The Daily Telegraph (2010) ‘Step in to Tackle Yobs’.
  159. (2006). The Decline in Crime and the Rise of Anti-Social Behaviour.
  160. (2010). The Drivers of Perceptions of Anti-Social Behaviour. London: Crown Copyright.
  161. (2003). The Economic and Social Costs of Anti-Social Behaviour: A Review. London: The London School of Economics and Political Science.
  162. (1994). The Established and the Outsiders.
  163. (2006). The Home Office – Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour. Report by the Controller and Auditor General. HC99 Session 2006-2007. London: The Stationery Office.
  164. (2007). The Impact of Antisocial Behaviour Strategies at the Neighbourhood Level. Edinburgh: Scottish Government.
  165. (2008). The Irony of Broken Windows Policing: a Micro-place Study of the Relationship Between Disorder, Focused Police Crackdowns and Fear of Crime.
  166. (2009). The Policing Pledge. The Policing Pledge. Available at: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/CrimeJusticeAndTheLaw/ThePolice/DG_181995. Accessed
  167. (2007). The Respect Handbook: A Guide for Local Services. London: Respect Taskforce.
  168. (1989). The Structure of Individual Attitudes and Attitude Systems’,
  169. (2007). The Sun (2007a) ‘Lout of Order: Soft ASBO Plan as Yobs Take Over Streets’.
  170. (2007). The Sun (2007b) ‘ASBO Dog Torched my Home’.
  171. (2007). The Sun (2007c) ‘ASBO for Womble’. The Sun 15 Decmeber,
  172. (2009). The Times (2009) ‘Alan Johnson to Tackle Antisocial Behaviour as Top Priority’.
  173. (2000). The Tipping Point.
  174. (2004). The Urban Neighbourhood and the Moral Geographies of British Urban Policy’,
  175. (2007). The Use and Impact of Dispersal Orders: Sticking Plasters and Wake-Up Calls.
  176. (2009). Tolerance, Respect and Civility Amid Changing Cities’,
  177. (2007). Toward a definition of mixed methods research.
  178. (2005). Understanding Crime and Justice. London: Ipsos Mori Crime and Justice Research Unit.
  179. Urban Governance and Anti-Social Behaviour.
  180. (2008). Violence: A Micro-Sociological Theory.
  181. (2004). What Works for Victims and Witnesses of Anti-Social Behaviour. London: Home Office.
  182. (2003). Winning the Fight Against Crime? New Labour, Populism and Lost Opportunities’, in
  183. (2008). Youth Crime Action Plan
  184. (2009). Youth Crime Action Plan: One Year On.

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.