1. Alley-Gating in Liverpool (England)

Alley-Gating in Liverpool (England)

Program Goal/Target Sites

Alley-gates are hardwearing, lockable gates that restrict access to an alley to local residents, thus reducing opportunities for potential offenders. This type of installation is particularly suited to many British industrial cities, where so many of the properties have narrow alleys that run along the back of the houses. The goal of installing alley-gates in Liverpool, England, was to reduce burglary. Such programs can sometimes also reduce other types of crime and disorder.


Alleyways that ran along the back of residences in Liverpool were identified as potential sites for alley-gates.


Program Components

The planning process for installing the gates can easily take up to a year. Permission needs to be secured from all the residents affected by the installation. Also, if the alley is a public right of way, then alley-gating may be prohibited. Gates have to be manufactured to fit each specific location. Gates have a life expectancy of 10 years, depending on the upkeep. Residents are given keys.


In Liverpool, the installation of each gate protected approximately 134 houses. A total of 3,178 gates were installed that protected 106 distinct blocks of adjacent houses, which each contained about 362 residential properties.

Intervention ID

No Data.


Study 1

Burglary Rates

Bowers, Johnson, and Hirschfield (2004) found that burglaries were reduced in alley-gated areas of Liverpool, England, up to 37 percent beyond changes observed in comparison areas, a statistically significant reduction. The analysis indicated that an estimated 875 burglary incidents were prevented. The analysis also found that the greater the “intensity” of the intervention (i.e., the number of gates fitted, blocks protected, or houses protected), the larger the reduction in burglary.

Displacement and Diffusion

Overall, spatial diffusion was observed in four of seven buffer zones. Displacement was observed in two and no change in one. The level of diffusion was greater with a greater level of program “intensity.”

Some tactical displacement—that is, offenders using a different method to commit a crime—was observed but was less than reductions achieved by the intervention, making it benign or inconsequential. Also, dose–response analysis suggested that the tactical displacement could have been the result of factors other than the alley-gates.

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