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Fighting the fear of crime

NLPG Exemplar Award Runner-up – Best use of NLPG data by a partner 2008: Sedgefield Borough Council.

Despite having one of the lowest crime rates in the UK, 26% lower than the national average, the fear of crime and fear of the effect crime may have is still a primary concern for residents of Sedgefield.

In order to tackle this issue, a customer focused partnership has been established to collate, analyse and disseminate information about crime and anti social behaviour in the borough and use this intelligence to effectively target resources where they are most needed.

The project has demonstrated the power of data sharing and partnership working using proven web technology and the NLPG to engage with customers, empowering them with information and improving the safety of their community.

Outcomes

A collaboration between Sedgefield Borough Council, Durham County Council, Durham Constabulary, Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Authority, Durham Police Authority and Sedgefield Primary Care Trust and the Sedgefield Community Safety Partnership, was established to address the fear of crime and strategically target resources where crime rates are highest.

Drawing on the customer focus priorities of the partnership a project to securely share, interrogate and provide access to intelligence on crime and anti social behaviour at both ward and sub ward level was initiated. Funding for the project was provided through the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund and this enabled the appointment of an information analyst. Raw data from the home office, police, Durham Observatory and sources internal to the council were collated and analysed using the NLPG as a base. This information was used by the partnership to determine strategy, assist in measuring performance and operationally for the identification of high output areas for the allocation of resources.

An existing web based GIS application, Sedgefield Information Service, had already proven a success providing a direct channel of communication not only with the public but also with partner organisations. This was used to disseminate the intelligence to residents who could simply enter their address at either the council or community safety partnership websites to retrieve statistics on crime and anti social behaviour for their ward. The information is displayed in either text format or via an interactive map window and as well as a range of crime prevention techniques and programmes, additional information made available includes neighbourhood warden contact details, neighbourhood warden quarterly reports and details of neighbourhood policing teams. The service is also used by the partnership for more in depth analysis of the data.

Sedgefield Borough Council’s director of neighbourhood services and chair of the community safety partnership praised the provision of information to the public commenting, “This project has enabled residents to see the crime rates for their local ward and assists in reminding them that Sedgefield is already a safe place in which to live and work and we are proud of continuing success in bringing down crime in the area.”

Key benefits

  • A measurable reduction in police recorded anti social behaviour resulting from effective targeting of affected areas and specific operations.
  • A customer focused partnership project providing frontline intelligence to residents, engaging and empowering communities.
  • Innovative use of existing lines of communication and technology to interact with communities and partner organisations.
  • Support of the council’s primary objective to create a borough that is prosperous, attractive with strong communities.
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