Leader: ‘Often “minor” trouble has the biggest impact’

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BINS being pulled over, rowdy teenagers shouting and screaming at passers-by and petty vandalism of a bus shelter.

The picture painted by our report from Piershill will be depressingly familiar to readers in many parts of the Capital.

It is all, of course – or nearly all – pretty low-level stuff.

More serious incidents such as the apparently racially motivated beating ofa 12-year-old girlearlier this week will always grab the headlines due to their shocking nature.

But far more often it is just the kind of “minor” trouble that is plaguing residents there that has the biggest impact on people’s lives. When you are constantly worried about your property being damaged or your peace being disturbed, or you are scared to go out alone after dark, life can be miserable.

No one is suggesting that Piershill is any worse than many other pockets of the Lothians and neighbourhoods elsewhere in Scotland.

And it is the fact that such problems are so commonplace that makes tackling low-level antisocial behaviour such a pressing issue.

The council and police are making efforts with initiatives such as the Buzz bus, which visits the area to provide a diversion for local youths, and extra officers visiting at problem times.

That is important, but only a start.

The council must ensure, as local MP Sheila Gilmore points out, that it is doing all it can to confront antisocial behaviour by its tenants.

But there is a limit to what the authorities can do – as our photograph of youths vandalising the bus stop while the “buzz bus” is parked alongside it graphically highlights.

It is crucial too that as many of the decent majority as possible play their part by supporting local initiatives such as Neighbourhood Watch and Neighbourhood Partnerships.

Your time to shine

Forget Cowell and co, there is only one talent contest which gets the Capital talking and it’s back for 2012.

Edinburgh’s Got Talent keeps going from strength to strength and this year the grand finale promises to be a fantastic night in a new venue, the Festival Theatre.

Tranent schoolgirl Caitlyn Vanbeck took the crown last year and went on to deliver a stunning performance at the Radio Forth awards, proving that real talent really is just waiting to be discovered.

So time to get those vocal chords loosened, the dance moves perfected, or the jokes honed. Entries will open later in the year. If you’ve got talent, let Edinburgh know.