Crime reduction through situational crime prevention: a study in the united kingdom



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About Leicestershire:

Leicestershire is one of the main counties of England. The demographic profile and ethnic composition of this county is quite heterogeneous. With a population of 280,000, Leicester is the largest city in the East Midlands (The area of Leicester is 7,309 hectares.) and the tenth largest in the country. Its importance was first recognised by the Romans and later by the Danes, who used it as a strategic stronghold to control the Midlands. Since then it has developed into a major commercial and manufacturing centre, known better for the diversity of its trade than for its dependence on a single industry. (http://www.leicester.gov.uk/).

 
It is also a historic meeting place. For centuries people of different races and cultures have gathered in Leicester, creating a rich and unique heritage. This diversity continues today. The city's thriving ethnic minority community accounts for more than a third of Leicester's population and continues to enrich city life.

LEICESTERSHIRE MAP


Location of Leicester in the UK


The purpose in this section is to make an intensive case study of Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) in Leicestershire. This is to get an idea about the way the Crime and disorder Partnerships are structured, developed, implemented and monitored. This will also highlight the utilisation of various situational crime prevention measures. The performance and efficacy of situational crime prevention measures could also be seen this way.


Background

The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 placed a new statutory responsibility on Local authorities and the Police to set up a new partnership with the Police Authority, Probation Service and the Health Authority and other local authorities and agencies.

The new partnerships were required to conduct a comprehensive local audit of crime and disorder and to develop and implement a strategy for reducing crime and disorder for their area.

Accordingly, the Leicestershire partnership came in to being.

The Aims Of The Leicester Partnership Against Crime And Disorder

The partnership aspired to make the City of Leicester a safer place for our communities to live by creating a sense community safety and togetherness through a multi agency partnership of local agencies. Broad aims set by the partnership include:



  • __Reducing the opportunities for crime to occur

  • __Tackling disorder and anti-social behaviour

  • __Improving methods of crime detection

  • __Improving services to victims

  • __Reducing the fear of crime

  • __Tackling domestic violence and racial harassment

  • __Combating the use of drugs


The opportunity reduction and situation crime prevention focus becomes the first priority in this programme.
Membership of the Partnership
Membership is not restrictive or exclusive and includes:
Leicester City Council

Leicestershire Constabulary

Leicestershire And Rutland Probation Service

Leicestershire Health Authority

Leicestershire Police Authority

Leicester City Youth Offending Team

Leicestershire Fire And Rescue Service

Leicester Victims Of Crime Support Scheme

Leicestershire Chamber Of Commerce And Industry

Voluntary Action Leicester

Leicester Racial Equality Council

Leicester Magistrates Courts

Neighbourhood Watch

Crown Prosecution Service

Leicester Witness Cocoon



Crime Trends

The Report of “Crime & Disorder Strategy (2002/2005) Leicester Partnership Against Crime & Disorder presents the following account about crime scenario.

The performance of Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) and SCP may well be assessed in the light of crime trends in the county of Leicestershire.
The crime trends in the county can well be understood in the context of national trends in crimes.
During the year ending 31 March 2001, the Police in England and Wales recorded a total of 5.2 million crimes. This represents an overall fall in crime over the preceding year of 2.5%.
As regards trends over specific crime types, domestic burglary offences fell by 9% whilst vehicle crime rates fell by 7%. Offences of violent crime rose nationally with a 13% increase in robbery offences and a 3% increase in violence against the person.

In Leicestershire, there were a total of 86,422 offences recorded between April 2000 and March 2001, which represents an 8.6% decrease compared with the previous year and equates to 92 offences per 1000 of the population (1). Across the county, theft and handling stolen goods (40%) vehicle crime (26%) and burglary (16%) made up the largest proportion of crimes committed.



Leicester Comparison

In the City of Leicester, there were a total of 41,212 crimes recorded during 2000/2000. This represents nearly half of all crime recorded in Leicestershire and equates to 142 incidents per 1000 population. This is a 7.2% decrease compared with 1999/2000, which is better than the national average of a 2.5% decrease. Although overall there was a decrease in crime, certain offences have been subject to increases, namely robbery (up 8.6%) and assaults (up 0.7%).

Whilst the city centre has seen an overall reduction in crime between 1998 and 2001, the number of assaults has increased by 320 incidents from 2,361 incidents in the 1998/1999 recording period to 2, 681in 2000/2001, which equates to a 12% increase over the three year period. Robbery within the City Centre has also seen an 11% increase over the same period.

Following the introduction of Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (C.D.R.P.), the Home Office developed a system to enable partnerships to compare their performance by grouping them into one of thirteen ‘families’. These groupings are based on a number of socio-economic and demographic factors that have been shown to correlate with the level of crime and disorder within an area. Leicester City has been grouped with 11 other large urban area CDRP’s. They are:

Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Sheffield, Bradford,

Middlesborough, Newcastle upon Tyne, Kingston upon Hull, and Wolverhampton.

Overall, the Leicester Partnership Against Crime and Disorder compares favourably to other partnerships in its ‘family’ across all five main categories of crime, namely violence against the person, robbery, domestic burglary, and theft of and from vehicles. Comparative performance is particularly favourable for robbery where 7 out of the 11 partnerships have a higher rate than Leicester, despite the increase in the number of incidents by over 8%. This is also true of theft of vehicles where 10 of the partnerships had higher crime rates than Leicester.



Percentage of recorded crime in Leicester City 2000/2001
Robbery2%Theft of CycleAssault14%2%Homocide & Theft from Vehicle13%Other Offences11%Theft of Vehicle5%Domestic Burglary8%Non Domestic Burglary5%Criminal Damage22%Sexual Offences1%All Other Theft17%
Domestic Burglary
Like whole of the UK the burglary remains a crime that causes the most concern for residents of Leicester.

There were a total of 5650 incidents (13% of all recorded crime) of burglary in Leicester between 2000/2001. The incidence of domestic burglaries accounted 60% of these cases.

Reducing burglary, and in particular domestic burglary, has been a success in Leicester over recent years. There were 28.2 incidents of domestic burglary per 1000 households in the period 2000/2001, a reduction from 36 in 1999/2000 and 39 in 1998/1999. This matches a regional and national trend, but the reduction in the rates per 1000 households has been greatest for the city compared to county and national reductions. Within the partnership family, Leicester has the third lowest rates of domestic burglary per 1000 households. The community’s concern was still serious about it.



  • The survey specially conducted by the CDPs with the local residents y indicated that 67% of respondents were very concerned about having their house broken into and something stolen even though only 9% had actually been a victim of burglary in the last 12 months.




  • The rate of 28.2 burglaries per 1000 households is still above the national average of 18.4 per 1000 households.




  • The resident’s survey indicated that Asian (76%) and female respondents (68%) were the most concerned about domestic burglary.

  • Early indications are that domestic burglary may not reduce in the period 2001/2002.


Violent Crime

Violent crime comprises of assaults against the person (ranging from minor assault or common assault through to homicide) and robbery (actual or attempted theft using force or the threat of force).

Nationally, violent crime rose by 4.3% in the period 2000/2001compared to the previous 12 months.

In Leicester, there were 5668 incidents of assault in this period making a total of 14% of all recorded crime. This is an increase of 7% over the period 1997/1998.

There were a total of 863 incidents of robbery in the period 2000/2001 making a total of 2% of all recorded crime. Whilst these numbers are fairly small, figures have gone up nearly 9% since 1999/2000 and by 11% since 1998/1999. The trend is that there will be a further increase for the period 2001/2002.

The resident’s survey indicated that repeat victimisation was high, with nearly one in four respondents having suffered more than once in the last 12 months. 43% of the incidents took place in the city centre, 33% in the vicinity of the victim’s neighbourhood and 14% at work. Those from a mixed race background were the most likely victims. Being mugged or robbed and being physically attacked were the third and fifth crimes of concern amongst residents.

Within the partnership family groupings, incidents of violent crime were comparatively high, with Leicester falling among the top quarter.


Vehicle Crime

The collective term, vehicle crime, relates to theft of motor vehicles, taking a motor vehicle without the owners’ consent (TWOC) and theft from motor vehicles.

Nationally, the cost of vehicle crime is over £3.5 billion a year and makes up 19% of all crime.

In Leicester, between 2000/2001, there were a total of 7,468 incidents of vehicle crime making 18% of all recorded crime. 72% of vehicle crime was theft from a vehicle and TWOC, with the remaining 28% being theft of vehicles. This equates to 18.9 incidents of theft from and 6.8 incidents of theft of motor vehicles per 1000 population. Both of these figures have reduced from previous years.

Within the partnership family groupings, Leicester suffered the second lowest rates per 1000 of the population for vehicle theft but just below average for theft from motor vehicles.

Crime Concern’s research into vehicle crime identified that nationally, 75% of vehicle crime offenders are under the age of 21, with 36% of those being 16 years or under. In Leicester, 3% of pre–sentence reports (PSR’s) were written on vehicle crime offenders.

In the resident’s survey, vehicle crime ranked sixth in the order of concerns and early indications are that vehicle crime has increased in Leicester for the period 2001/2002 compared to the previous 12 months.

Domestic Violence

There are problems associated with gaining a true picture into the extent of domestic violence. Firstly, due to its sensitive nature it is greatly under reported and secondly, there are differences in the way that incidents are classified.

In Leicester, police statistics show that there were a total of 4264 incidents of domestic violence between 2000/2001, with just over a third (35%) being assaults. Incidents of domestic violence frequently go unreported to the police and therefore these figures are likely to be an underestimation of the full scale of the problem. Studies show that a woman may have been the victim of domestic violence more than 30 times, sometimes over a long period within the relationship, before she reports the incidents to an agency.

In the resident’s survey, mixed race and Asian respondents were most concerned about being the victim of domestic violence whilst white respondents were the least concerned.



Racial Harassment

After the Stephen Lawrence enquiry, issues around race and racism have rightly come to the forefront of crime policy. The following definition of a racist incident has been adopted from the Stephen Lawrence enquiry:

Any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person.’

Nationally, the number of racist incidents has risen each year since 1994. The British Crime Survey suggests that this reflects improved recording practices rather than an increase in the number of incidents.

This pattern is also evident in Leicester. During 2000/2001, 908 racist incidents were recorded by the Leicestershire Constabulary, of which 640 (70%) took place in the city. This was a 16% increase when compared to the previous year.

The number of racist incidents in the city recorded by the police has nearly trebled since 1998/1999, from 219 to the figure of 640 for 2000/2001. Early indications are that this figure will rise again in 2001/2002 with 595 incidents recorded in the first nine months. As with the national picture, this may be due to a number of factors like an increase in public confidence to report to the police, as well as a greater awareness amongst police officers to record incidents brought to their attention.

There were 2.1 racist incidents per 1000 of the population of Leicester in 2000/2001; this was an increase from 2 in 1999/2000 and 0.8 in 1998/1999.

The Leicester resident’s survey showed that 28% of respondents were worried about being the victim of verbal abuse due to their colour and 30% worried about being the victim of physical attack. Of these, Asian and dual heritage respondents were the groups most concerned about racial abuse with white respondents being the least concerned. This mirrors the findings of the resident’s survey carried out in 1998 for the first Crime and Disorder Strategy.


Hate Crime
Hate crime covers those offences that are motivated in part by the prejudices of the offender on the grounds of sexuality, race or religion. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) offers the following definition:

Where a perpetrators prejudice is a factor in determining who is victimised.’

The following definition is also offered by ACPO for homophobic crime:

Any incident that is perceived to be homophobic by the victim or any other person.’

.

During 2000/2001, 47 homophobic incidents were reported to the Leicestershire Constabulary. Of these, 38 incidents (over 80%) took place in the city. The data shows that 68% of the victims were male, 71% of the victims were aged between 20-39 and nearly 37% were repeat victims.

Drugs

Communities Against Drugs guidance from the Home Office states that:

The British Crime Survey in 2000 found that a third of those aged between 16-59 had tried drugs in their lifetime. Rates of use of any drug were generally higher in young people; the figures for 16-29 year-olds were 50% had tried drugs, 25% had used drugs in the last year and 16% had used drugs in the last month.

Within the City of Leicester, there were a total of 657 incidents of drug offences recorded by the Leicestershire Constabulary in 2000/2001. Just under 75% of these offences were for possession of controlled drugs with a further 19.8% for trafficking. These figures are reliant upon police detection’s, as unlike other offences, they are generally not recorded as a result of reports from the public. They do not, therefore, give a true reflection of the extent of drug misuse in the city.

The Leicester resident’s survey showed that the second highest level of concern was people using or dealing in drugs. Those from a dual heritage background (71%) and Asian (61%) were the most concerned, while Black (31%) and those respondents under the age of 25 (41%) were the least concerned.

Drugs did not feature as a priority for the Leicester Partnership Against Crime and Disorder in its first strategy. The connection between the use of drugs and the commission of other crime has received a higher profile over the last three years, and with the introduction by the Government of Communities Against Drugs funding, combating the use of drugs is now considered a priority for this strategy.


Crime in the City Centre
There were a total of 8,380 crimes recorded in the city centre during the period 2000/2001which relates to 20.3% of all crime committed within the city. This is an increase of 921 crimes over the period 1999/2000 or 12.3%.


  • Homicide and assault offences experienced an increase of 293 offences or 26%.

  • Theft from motor vehicles experienced the highest increase of 329 offences or 37%

  • Theft of motor vehicles reduced by 144 offences or over 50%

  • Non domestic burglary offences reduced by 4.3%



The Impact of Crime
Whilst it is important when preparing a crime reduction strategy to examine crime trends, offenders, and their needs, in order to have an holistic approach, it is equally as important to examine the effect that crime is having on victims and the community in general.

Crime is not evenly spread across the population of Leicester. Certain groups in society are more likely to be victims of crime than others.


The 2001 British Crime Survey found:

  • Young households and people living in areas of high levels of disorder had a higher than average chance of becoming victims of burglary and vehicle related thefts.

  • Single parents had a higher than average risk of becoming victims of burglary and violence.

  • Young men and women between the ages of 16-24 were the most likely to be victims of violence.
  • National research has shown that a small proportion of the population suffers a high proportion of crime. This phenomenon is known as repeat victimisation.


  • Research on repeat victimisation shows that:

  • When repeat victimisation occurs, it does so quickly.

  • High crime rates and hotspots exist mainly due to high levels of repeat victimisation.

  • One major reason for repeat victimisation is that offenders take advantage later of opportunities that the first offence presents.

  • Those offenders who repeatedly victimise the same target tend to be more established in their crime careers.

In the Leicester resident’s survey, 27% of respondents felt that crime affected their health to a degree, whereas 55% felt it impacted on their quality of life.

A high percentage of disabled respondents believed that crime affected both their quality of life and their health. This could possibly be explained by the fact that disabled respondents are more vulnerable not only physically, but also often financially so that the effects of being a victim are felt more harshly.

Those under the age of 25 were least likely to believe that crime would affect either their health or their quality of life. This is surprising when looking at the levels of victimisation for that age group.

Asian respondents showed higher levels than average when looking at the impact of crime on quality of life. Black and white respondents showed lower than average levels of impact.



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