THE WAY I SEE IT #3 : By Darren Murphy

ANTISOCIAL behaviour, it’s a term we hear all too commonly in this day and age. Whether it be on the evening news, the radio, a national newspaper or maybe even a local newspaper.

In fact, just last week in our very own Hawick News, one article told of how people were too afraid to leave their homes at night, due to fears regarding crime and antisocial behaviour.

I won’t judge the people making these claims, and I’m sure they have valid reasons. Maybe it’s the same people who call for more police officers to be patrolling the streets, which certainly acts as a deterrent. To me there’s too much emphasis on police responding to crimes already committed rather than preventing them, but hey, that’s another matter.

The main point I want to stress here is that Hawick IS a safe place to stay or visit.

The town isn’t perfect, don’t be mistaken, I’m not going to paint a rosy picture of some utopian dream where we are all blissfully unaware of goings-on elsewhere in the world. Something we have to remember, though, is that no matter what I don’t think we will ever be able to completely eradicate antisocial behaviour from society.

Hawick may be a small town but it isn’t cut off from the mainland. It’s not immune from problems elsewhere in Britain or the world for that matter. Drugs, alcohol abuse and vandalism being just a few of many hugely concerning issues that infiltrate every society, and our town is no different.

That’s simply life, but if you know of any flawless civilizations, then please enlighten me!

As a small intimate town, it’s easy for people to get carried away when crimes are committed. News travels fast, especially bad news. On many occasions stories get so distorted people are unsure what to believe. (We all know the saying, pass wind at one end of the street and by the time the story has reached the other end you’ve . . . well, you know how it goes.)

However, it’s also this level of intimacy that makes small towns like Hawick, great. Having lived here for a large part of my life, I feel well balanced to address this particular situation.

Tightknit communities of people with large amounts of appreciation for each other and their surroundings are a rare thing in the modern world. And ours is a society where the majority of inhabitants are good, hard-working and honest folks, who need no encouragement to aid friends, neighbours, even strangers who are in need of a helping hand.

Crime rates are extremely low in comparison to other parts of the country, and serious crime, although it occasionally happens, is rare. If we put it into context we are doing so much better than some areas of Britain and in a way we are lucky to live in such a safe environment, considering the spiralling levels of crime in some towns and cities.

Like I said, Hawick isn’t perfect, but I honestly don’t give it a second thought when going out and I would certainly see Hawick as a safe and friendly place to raise a family. Not that I’m in any rush to have children, though!

In all seriousness, it saddened me that people in Hawick were afraid to leave their homes. Perhaps those making these claims were subjected to some form of victimization or some unfortunate experiences, but please don’t let a minority of mindless inhabitants ruin your view of an otherwise welcoming town. But I’m not saying life isn’t without its risks, so make sure you put on clean underwear, just in case!

We live in a gem of a place, folks; appreciate how good we have it because many communities would give their eye teeth to have it as good as us.

Then again that would be a bit antisocial wouldn’t it?