Halt the vandals

I was somewhat taken aback and also saddened to read Penelope Gregory s response to A Mack s letter regarding vandalism in Letchworth Town Centre, in particular to the Garden House Hospice shop window (incidentally this was the third large window to be br

I was somewhat taken aback and also saddened to read Penelope Gregory's response to A Mack's letter regarding vandalism in Letchworth Town Centre, in particular to the Garden House Hospice shop window (incidentally this was the third large window to be broken).

I feel that comments and criticisms about lack of facilities for the youth of the town are, in my opinion, completely misplaced and unfair. A lot of effort has been made in good faith by various authorities to provide suitable venues for them. Worries about what they will do when the weather is cold, seem very trite to me - especially as climate changes have meant that winters are milder anyway! The cold might stop the basketball and skateboarding but experience shows that many of the youngsters still manage to wander aimlessly around the town whatever the weather, resulting often in mindless vandalism.

What seemed to be missing in Ms. Gregory's letter are any positive suggestions for remedying the situation.

No one can condone vandalism and destruction of property but ultimately the responsibility for good behaviour must lie in the home. It is a sad reflection on society that somewhere along the line things have failed.

While not agreeing with the view expressed in last week's Comet I do concede that as a community we are presented with a problem which unless tackled, will not go away. A sad reflection of our time, we probably have to accept that, whatever our opinion or anger at the situation, we cannot pass the problem back to the youngsters themselves but have to try to sort something out.

Questionnaires have been tried and perhaps now it is time to consider other avenues. Possibly one way forward would be to enlist the help of our schools, the educators of our children, who can perhaps understand better the social and leisure aspirations of the teen persona.

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Ideas in informal discussion could be sought and passed back to those who can hopefully do something about them involving, of course, the so-called bored teenagers at each stage. It does however, all take money, so they have to be realistic and workable.

We are very fortunate in the First Garden City, to have a fine leisure centre, recreation grounds and 70-odd acres of Norton Common. However, there is obviously a trend nowadays for indoor activities rather than outdoor and it would seem that we must now look in a different direction in the provision of future facilities. Cost, both of provision and running is always an issue and the youngsters on the whole would have a problem paying for use of these if expensive charges were levied.

We all want to enjoy our Garden City and live in peace, knowing it is a special place to be in both for young and old as well as for generations to come. A challenge, but certainly not an impossible task!

ENA BOYLETT, Wheat Hill, Letchworth GC

* Penelope Gregory raised some valid points about Letchworth town's bored and frustrated youth.

However, while I agree with comments she raised about the youth having nothing to do and nowhere to go, that does not excuse them breaking the law and causing havoc to other innocent and law abiding townsfolk.

If the town council in their wisdom gave each estate premises for a youth club, those said premises would need to be vacated by at least 11pm. This does not stop these youths, who are still out, looking for something to do at 2am. Letchworth used to be a town to be proud of. I have seen so much rubbish and litter in the street, especially beer cans, bottles and loads of broken glass recently. Does no-one care any more?

I am sorry these youths are bored and angry with too much energy. Yes, I believe they should be helped and trained to be clever and acceptable adults, but vandalising cars and shop windows is going the wrong way about asking for help.

Has anyone ever stopped to ask Letchworth youths what it is they want? Perhaps if they would be good enough to write and let The Comet know.


* I was somewhat startled at the reaction to my letter (The Comet, September 14) expressed by Penelope Gregory.

I am quite aware that there is not a great deal to do in Letchworth for our teenagers, having said that I do not believe that this is the real cause of the vandalism.

I read in the newspaper that three teenagers had been arrested for some vandalism - one was 15 years old and two were 13! They were evidently apprehended at 3.30am, where were the parents of these boys, surely they were aware that their children were not indoors. Obviously these parents are failing their children.

It makes me sad that some children are being let down by their parents.

I still think that if Letchworth police station had not been closed, some of these problems would cease.

A MACK, Letchworth Garden City

* Give Youth Hope (Comet letters, September 21), as I understand it, what you seem to be saying is that if the younger members of society are not given enough to do by the councils etc., then violence, damage and disruption will be the natural outcome. I am not sure that I agree. What right does anyone have to cause mayhem and in many cases fear, just because they are bored? No, there are no excuses for anti-social behaviour of this or any kind.

ELAINE GRANT, Archers Way, Letchworth Garden City