Integrating Crime and Fear of Crime Initiatives With Transport and Accessibility Improvements in Deprived Areas in the Uk

Integrating Crime and Fear of Crime Initiatives With Transport and Accessibility Improvements in Deprived Areas in the Uk


J Machin, TSG, University of Westminster, UK



In 1996, UK government guidelines for transport operators identified that crime and fear of crime was significantly affecting travel choice and acting as a major barrier to the use of public transport. It was estimated that implementing measures to reduce crime and fear of crime on public transport could increase the number of trips by 10.5%. More recently, the Social Exclusion Unit?s 2003 report Making the Connections identified that fear of crime is of particular concern in deprived neighbourhoods and for certain disadvantaged groups. These areas tend to have not only higher crime rates but are more reliant on public transport because they have a low proportion of car owning households. Fear of crime on and around public transport is therefore more of a central issue for these neighbourhoods and groups.

The SEU report acknowledges that no one body is responsible for tackling crime and fear of crime across the whole journey chain. A key policy evolving from the report is therefore for the Home Office to raise the profile of crime and fear of crime around transport routes and hubs among Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRPs) and the police, and encourage data collection for, and participation in, accessibility planning exercises.

CDRPs were set up in 1998 to encourage local authorities in England to work together with the police and other relevant bodies to develop crime reduction strategies. In their early work, few paid attention to issues relating to crime associated with public transport use. Now however, increasing numbers of CDRPs are successfully liasing with transport authorities to develop schemes to tackle crime and fear of crime while walking to, waiting for and travelling on public transport. Nearly one quarter of the 2002 Audits and Strategies include some transport-related reference (none of these made any mention of crime on public transport nor of transport operators/providers as sources of crime data in April 1999).

The main aim of this project has been to look at practical ways to address these issues, by linking piloting work to reduce crime and disorder in around public transport in Middlesbrough, a leading local authority in this field of delivery, with the Department for Transport?s Accessibility Planning piloting study. The project builds on a five-year demonstration study undertaken by the Transport Studies Group at the University of Westminster as part of the Civilising Cities Initiative (funded by the RAC Foundation and the DfT). In the Middlesbrough pilot, this examined the contribution of transport improvements and crime reduction measures to improving quality of life in two selected co-corridors with the aim of increasing public transport use, through better quality services and increased levels of personal safety.

Middlesbrough was selected as a pilot study because crime and fear of crime has been identified by Middlesbrough Council research as a major problem - reducing the use of travel by public transport and restricting fuller use of services and facilities in the town. For its work with the local Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership in encouraging public transport use through reducing fear of crime, Middlesbrough Council has been recognised as a good practice example in the SEU?s 2003 Report Making the Connections.

Eight key research objectives were identified for the research:

1.To make recommendations on appropriate datasets and local indicators to assist local authorities and Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRPs) in (a) identifying hotspots where people, particularly those in disadvantaged areas and groups, might experience barriers to accessibility as a result of crime or fear of crime, and in (b) monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of remedial measures;

2.To work with Middlesbrough CDRP to identify key barriers and influences in relation to crime and fear of crime in and around public transport;

3.To identify good practice examples of initiatives being used in Middlesbrough to improve accessibility by reducing crime or fear of crime, identify their success factors and make an assessment on the impact that they have had on accessibility to services;

4.To obtain the views of Middlesbrough CDRP on the approaches to accessibility planning being developed in the DfT?s Accessibility Planning Piloting study and how these can be refined to incorporate crime and fear of crime issues;

5.To establish the best ways to embed the principles of accessibility planning into the CDRPs Crime Reduction Strategy;

6.To identify the resources that have be used to tackle crime and fear of crime in the Middlesbrough area, evaluate the effectiveness of the resulting crime reduction measures and assess the potential for further resources to be secured for this purpose from other funding sources;

7.To assess, and make recommendations on, the transferability of the 'good practice' schemes in Middlesbrough, in order to make recommendations on ways to develop and promote co-ordination and partnership working on crime reduction in and around public transport more widely;

8.To draw upon previous reviews through LTP and APR submissions, plus CDRP Audits and Strategies, in order to make recommendations on developing accessibility action plans, which include consideration of crime and fear of crime in and around public transport, to inform future DfT and Home Office guidance.

This paper discusses the data, analytical and practical issues that have emerged from the research and makes recommendations for future implementation.


Association for European Transport