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What works to reduce crime? A Summary of the evidence . Building Safer Communities Seminar Ben Cavanagh – Justice Analytical Services Linzie Liddell – Justice Analytical Services. Background . 3 strategies to achieve crime reduction:. We live our lives safe from crime, disorder and danger.

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what works to reduce crime a summary of the evidence

What works to reduce crime? A Summary of the evidence

Building Safer Communities Seminar

Ben Cavanagh – Justice Analytical Services

Linzie Liddell – Justice Analytical Services

  • 3 strategies to achieve crime reduction:

We live our lives safe from crime, disorder and danger

the fall in recorded crime since 2006 07
The fall in recorded crime since 2006/07

Since 2006/7 crime has fallen by 35% to a 39 year low.

Housebreaking -30%

Homicide -48%

Vandalism -55%

Handling offensive weapon -60%

Theft of motor vehicles -62%

effective parenting and quality of care
Effective parenting and quality of care

Low self control is linked to offending

Parenting programmes are effective in improving self-control

Social skills training designed to improve emotional intelligence, may help reduce delinquent behaviour

Offending is linked to abuse, neglect, exposure to domestic violence and parental substance misuse

Quality of care of children and young people and protection from abuse and neglect are key

Identification of abuse and neglect at the earliest stage


Role of the school and wider community

Diversionary role

Realising potential

Setting behavioural boundaries

School attachment is a key protective factor

Interventions focussed on self-control and social competency

societal attachment
Societal Attachment
  • Key factors in adulthood:
  • Stable employment – programmes may need to provide other educational and social supports to be effective
  • Good family relationships – criminal justice sanctions should minimise negative impact where possible
tackling drug and alcohol abuse
Tackling Drug and Alcohol Abuse
  • 21% had committed a crime to fund their drug use
  • 44% under the influence of drugs when offence committed
  • 50% drunk at time of offence
  • 63% of perpetrators of violent crime under the influence of alcohol. (to amend – don’t use all prisoner survey as may be misleading)
  • Clear association between drugs and alcohol and offending
  • Underlying causes of offending and drug and alcohol and abuse may be the same
  • Improving self-control through effective parenting may provide a valuable contribution
2 deterring offending
2. Deterring offending

Informal (eg through social norms)

Formal (eg through policing and punishing)

formal methods
Formal methods:

“Certainty of punishment is better than the severity of punishment”

3 reducing opportunities for offending
3. Reducing opportunities for offending




Absence of a



Root causes


Changing the situation




what works scotland

What Works Scotland

Keira Oliver

Local Government & Reform Analysis: PSR Research

aim of wws
Aim of WWS
  • Within parameters of policy framework, independent advice to deepen impact of approach;
  • Spread and accelerate approaches which deliver improvement;
  • Building on existing evidence and encouraging innovation.
  • Defines itself as a partnership, owned by all those who have a stake in creating solutions, actively involving policymakers, practitioners and users;
  • Engages directly with communities and collaborates actively to make a difference in people’s lives;
  • Moves from defining the problem to shaping solutions;
  • Is seen as credible by, and builds the confidence and capability of, professionals and communities to take an active and continuing role in shaping solutions;
  • Is clear in identifying both what is working and what isn’t, and why, with independence to challenge received wisdom and assumptions,
key questions
Key questions
  • How can we take what we know from individual projects and interventions and translate this into system-wide change?
  • What is working (or not working), and why, at the different levels of delivery and reform and at the interface between those levels? And to identify actions which can be taken in communities; at CPP and the national levels to improve impact.
  • What does the evidence (including international) say about large-scale reform programmes that have succeeded or failed and the impact they had in a system-wide context?
  • Why do results vary geographically and between communities, and how can we balance local approaches with ensuring spread of what works?
what happens now
What happens now?
  • Assessing four bidsfrom a consortia of universities and other organisations across Scotland
  • Decision by end of April for centre to launch in June 2014
  • Developing an approach to how WWS and the SG will work together(likely to evolve)
    • e.g. WWS active involvement in SG policy making? Internal events/networks? Comms strategy?
    • Keen to hear your ideas
  • Were any of the key findings surprising/challenging?
  • Does the review suggest that we should we be focussing our policy/analytical efforts in any particular area?
  • How does your work fit with this?