Town centres are becoming "no-go areas" after dark, with drunken yobs behaving like "an occupying army", MPs have warned.
Edward Leigh, chairman of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee also claimed it costs taxpayers £3.4 billion a year to deal with street disorder in England and Wales.
And he called for "absolutely rigorous" action against a hardcore of offenders who regarded anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos) as "part and parcel of their way of life".
Mr Leigh made the comments at the launch of his committee's report which warned that a small proportion of families and individuals were causing "misery and despair" to communities, particularly in the most deprived areas.
The report criticised the Home Office for its failure to carry out adequate research on which measures work best in tackling and preventing bad behaviour.
The report recorded that communities were "frustrated and concerned" at the courts' failure to act rapidly when Asbos were broken. It called for "rigorous enforcement" of breaches - with jail sentences if necessary.
Mr Leigh said: "After dark, our city and town centres are fast becoming no-go areas, with behaviour there ranging from drunken skylarking and intimidation to out-and-out criminal activity.
"No civilised country should have to put up with what can seem like an occupying army loose in the streets."