POLICE in Darlington are supporting a campaign to raise awareness among vandals of the impact of their actions on the town.
The Respect Your Street campaign will run throughout the summer and will aim to educate offenders about the effects and consequences of their actions on victims.
Rather than focusing on traditional methods of punishment such as arrests and court convictions, other methods of dealing with offenders will be highlighted.
These include working with social housing providers and other agencies, meaning that those caught committing acts of criminal damage could potentially see their housing tenancies or benefits affected.
Officers will also look at using Restorative Approaches which help offenders understand the impact of their crimes on people’s lives.
Supt Kerrin Smith, who is co-ordinating the campaign for Durham Constabulary, said: “Nobody wants to live in an awful place and some of the mindless damage to things like bus shelters and scratching a car do matter to people.
“We want those who commit such crimes to take a real hard look at what they are doing and the impact this has on their friends, neighbours and family.”
Posters will appear on social media along with the hashtag #respectyourstreet and displayed around town centres, schools and public buildings.
As well as the publicity campaign there will also be increased patrols, town centre curfews, weeks of action, visits to schools and a video which will be shown to pupils in the run up to the summer holidays.
People who commit criminal damage will not only receive a criminal record but can expect an £80 fixed penalty notice or even a custodial sentence.