A gang of youths are causing violent “mayhem” across an Aberdeen community – including one incident in which bows and arrows were fired.
The surge in anti-social behaviour in Garthdee, which started at the beginning of November, has shocked community leaders who are now working with local police and other groups to tackle the problem.
A new crime report issued last week shows that, since November, five assaults have taken place in the area, alongside seven instances of vandalism and nine cases of “youth annoyance” – particularly around the Aberdeen Snowsports Centre in Garthdee.
A spate of housebreakings and car thefts have also taken place.
Nigg Community Policing Team launched its response to problems in the area, called Operation Springhall, and made a number of arrests.
Paul O’Connor, manager of Inchgarth Community Centre and chairman of Garthdee Community Council, said: “It’s been absolute mayhem. There’s been a huge amount of issues going on.
“We’ve seen numerous broken windows and youths have even been firing proper bows and arrows at each other – I’d never heard of that one before.
“I’ve contacted the police, the city wardens and councillors and asked them to sit down to see what we can do to reach out to these parents and kids to make it clear that this isn’t acceptable.”
Nigg police officers said patrols are “regularly conducted” around known trouble areas as well as areas identified by members of the public.
Inspector Ali Mackenzie of Nigg Police Station added: “We know that anti-social behaviour has a disruptive effect on local communities and will act on any information we receive.
“We are aware of concerns in the Garthdee area and continue to carry out regular visible patrols there.
“We will carry out enforcement where required and will take appropriate action where offenders are identified.
“Violence is never acceptable and we thoroughly investigate every case reported to us to identify culprits and bring them to justice.”
However, some within Garthdee Community Council expressed concern at a decision by Aberdeen City Council to reduce the number of city wardens at the outbreak of Covid-19 in March.
One resident said wardens would often act as a deterrent to antisocial behaviour within the community.
A council spokeswoman said: “The city warden service was reduced during the first lockdown, to comply with national guidance, and while city wardens can help communities, crime prevention comes under the remit of Police Scotland not Aberdeen City Council.”
Councillor Ian Yuill added: “Obviously the more visible police and community wardens are the better and it’s obviously something the people of Garthdee would like to see – the police are aware of this problem and have launched operation Springhall.
“It’s obviously very worrying that there has been an increase in vandalism and anti-social behaviour within the community, but I’m delighted that various community groups and organisations are agreeing to get together to see how we can overcome this.”