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An Introduction to Crime and Disorder Reduction.

Article One

Crime and disorder reduction means ”Reducing the opportunity for a crime or disorder to take place.”

Whilst it is not possible to prevent all crimes taking place it is possible to reduce the fear of crime and its impact. This is a first of a series of articles, which will provide guidance and information about crime and disorder reduction.

Crime reduction involves a range of activities, which include improving the physical security of vulnerable targets, improving the environment in an area and working to provide a better quality of life. Crime prevention or reduction has usually been seen as the responsibility of the police, but a whole range of other agencies are now involved, including the local Authority, Health service, Fire Service and community groups.

What is important to note is that effective crime reduction doesn’t have to be large scale and expensive. There are a number of things that can be done locally on a small scale that have a significant impact on reducing crime. In fact, the key to successful prevention is that the initiative should be personalised and site specific.

Crime and disorder reduction uses a variety of methods to achieve its aims. One of the approaches is called “situational” which involves altering the physical conditions of potential sites where crime might take place.

Situational crime reduction can involve:

-Target hardening, for example fitting better locks to premises, or improving fencing.

- Removing vulnerable items from the places where they can be stolen or damaged.

- Removing the means to commit crime- such as ladders, and builders rubble that can be used to commit crime.

- Improving the visibility in an area, for example by cutting down high bushes or improving lighting so that offenders can be seen more easily.

- Controlling access to areas, for example to staff rooms, stock rooms or consulting rooms so that unauthorised people cannot get in to commit crime.

This is an introduction to the subject and in subsequent articles specific examples of crime prevention initiatives will be given. For further information or issues involving your premises you may contact the local police Crime Prevention Officer or the Controlled Drugs Liaison Officer.

Article Two

Who’s Involved in Crime Reduction in Your Area and What Can You Expect from Them?

In many areas crime reduction was traditionally seen as the main responsibility of the police until, in 1998, the Crime and Disorder Act became law.

The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 established partnerships between the Police, Local Authorities, Probation Service, Health Authorities, the voluntary sector, and local residents and businesses.

These partnerships are working to reduce crime and disorder in their area by following this process:

 Auditing the levels of crime and disorder problems in their area, and consulting widely with the population of that area to make sure that the partnership’s perception matches that of local people, especially minority groups, such as members of ethnic minorities.

Devising a strategy containing measures to tackle those priority problems.

The strategy lasts for three years, but must be kept under review by the partnership. Stemming from the strategy are various projects and schemes, some of which will be very local and some of which will be borough-wide. In addition to local initiatives there are also a number of national initiatives, which help tackle local crime problems such as those on street crime, drugs and vehicle crime.

Although, under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, crime reduction is the responsibility of everyone in the Local Authority and Police, each organisation may have specialist staff or departments, which have a specific responsibility for crime reduction.    It is important to be aware that the local authority has a legal requirement, under Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act, to review how their current service provision impacts on crime and disorder reduction and how they can take active steps to reduce crime and disorder. You have a right to ask them for help in reducing crime and disorder in your area.  

Should you be experiencing problems in your locality you should consider contacting one or more of the following:

Neighbourhood policing team

Local Authority Community Safety Wardens (should you have them)

Local Authority Community Safety Department (or equivalent)

Police Crime Prevention Officer.

Article 3.

Crime Prevention/Reduction, Local Organisations and What They Can Offer.

Previous articles introduced basic crime prevention and the legislation and organisations who can assist in the reduction of crime and disorder. Below is list of the kind of things your Local Authority and other organisations can do to help reduce crime and disorder. Please note that not all these services will be available in your area so you will need to check what each organisation offers.

Local Authority.

Housing

·         Enforcement of tenancy agreements

·         Dealing with nuisance neighbours

·         Rapid repairs for vulnerable tenants

·         Upgrading of materials used to repair, replace or renovate homes

·         Links with fire and rescue to co-ordinate crime reduction and fire risk assessments

·         Effective policy to deal with empty houses

Environmental Health

·         Prompt removal of graffiti

·         Regular refuse collection

·         Street cleaning

·         Removal of drugs litter

Highways

·         Improving lighting in crime or fear of crime hotspots and footpaths

·         Keeping shrubbery at the right level to improve visibility

·         Parks patrols can focus on sites where low level disorder occurs

·         Liaison with fire and rescue about hedges fires

·         Providing information for siting cctv cameras to cover key sites

·         Traffic calming on estates or key roads where road safety is an issue

·         Removal of burnt vehicles

Planning

·         Making sure that planning applications don’t contribute to crime and disorder

Education

·         Teaching about citizenship and crime reduction is part of the national curriculum and local problems can be used as case studies.

·         Educational welfare officers can help with truanting problems, which contribute, to crime.

 

Social Services

·         Home helps may provide crime reduction advice to vulnerable groups

·         Working with young people involved in disorderly behaviour through acceptable behaviour contracts and anti social behaviour contracts.

·         Identifying people at risk

Youth Services

·         Support and advice on crime reduction and personal safety issues

·         Links with Drug Action Teams to provide advice on drug and alcohol issues

·         Providing detached youth workers for vulnerable areas

·         Themed events at clubs

Leisure Services

·         Events and activities for young people, especially during school holidays

Neighbourhood Wardens

·         They operate in some areas and work in the community to provide support- different local authorities use them in different ways so you need to check what they do in your area.

Elected Members

·         They are in an ideal position for passing information between the community and the council

·         Some authorities have one elected member with specific responsibility for crime and disorder reduction

 Police

·         Advice from Crime Prevention Officers

·         Increased patrols in crime hotspot areas

·         Support for communities through community policing

·         Schools liaison officers

·         Projects to tackle specific crime problems

Fire and Rescue

·         Fire risk assessments and advice

·         Identifying repeat locations for hedge and vehicle fires

·         Identifying repeat locations for hoax emergency calls

Health Services

·         Identifying links between crime and disorder hotspots and areas with health problems

·         Awareness and education programmes for drug and alcohol misuse

·         Needle exchanges which reduce drug litter

·         Funding for health action zones. These areas often also suffer from crime and disorder problems.

Probation Services

·         Supervision of offenders

·         Support local projects, such as graffiti clearance by using people serving community punishment orders

Voluntary Sector

·         Area councils for voluntary service can give advice on groups who can support local projects

Landlords

·         Some non-council landlords have policies for dealing with anti-social and disruptive tenants.


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