Comment: Intervention of council to be welcomed

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It takes a lot of different things to come together to build a strong community where people feel safe and want to live.

Firstly, there has to be plenty of good people living in the neighbourhood who are ready to look out for one another and, at the most testing times, to stand up for what they believe in. There is certainly no shortage of people like that in Pilton and Drylaw.

On top of that, strong public services, good schools, well-looked-after parks and streets, and decent facilities make a big difference.

But underpinning all this is the maintenance of law and order – without that you have nothing.

Life in a neighbourhood where a small handful of criminals behave as if they are above the law is miserable. People worry about what will happen to their property as soon as they turn their back. They do not feel safe in their beds at night and worry about what might happen to their children when they step out the front door.

It is true that the fear of crime is often far greater than the risk of falling victim, but that does not make it any easier to live with the constant worry.

Social disorder and the fear that it brings have a corrosive effect on communities. People who have a choice don’t want to move there, those who live there want to get out, and the result is a community in flux. Neighbour to neighbour relations which hold communities together get lost.

That must not be allowed to happen. The problems have been allowed to grow and fester for far too long and must be systematically rooted out. The intervention of city council chief executive Sue Bruce has to be welcomed. She has a track record of getting results where others have failed both in the Capital and in her previous post in Aberdeen.

The council and the police must use all the powers at their disposal to ensure that the streets of the estates are reclaimed from the criminals who have had it their own way for far too long.