The Hartlepool program was designed to tackle burglary problems in two high-burglary areas of Hartlepool, England. It was part of the larger Reducing Burglary Initiative, launched by England’s Home Office in 1998, which identified and provided funding to areas around the country where the burglary rates were at least twice the national average.
Conceived of as a comprehensive approach to solve community problems, the program consisted of the following activities:
Alleygating. For this component, alleys were identified where the installation of gates could control access to the area. Over the course of the project, 14 alleygates were installed.
Target hardening. The purpose of this component was to make properties more secure and harder to access, particularly with regard to repeat victims, burglary hot spots, and end terrace properties. For such properties, a Crime Prevention Officer would offer to do a crime prevention survey and make recommendations. A volunteer agency would then install recommended fixtures, such as locks and security lights. Related to this component was the recommendation that residents use plug-in timers, which were offered for sale at a reduced cost. Residents purchased 364 timers.
Property marking. For this part of the program, organizers offered to mark five items of property at each house. There was a relatively low rate of participation rate in this component of the program.
Youth programs. Two different types of programs were introduced. The first was designed to engage at-risk youth in structured activities at the local sports center. The second was a youth development program targeted at young offenders.
Education and awareness activities. These activities varied considerably, but were intended to promote crime prevention on the part of the community and its individuals. Activities included visits to schools, newsletters, and the organization of a crime prevention week.
Community development. Many of the activities were directed at building the capacity of the community to respond to and prevent crime. Activities included the establishment of a new resident association and new Neighborhood Watch groups.
Project manager. Two project managers were involved during the course of the program, the community Safety Strategy Officer for the Hartlepool Borough Council and the Community Safety Officer from the Cleveland Police. They developed a productive working relationship and provided strong, non-authoritarian leadership.
Steering group. The steering group met regularly every 6 weeks and monitored the program’s progress carefully. Members of the group helped engage the partners in identifying solutions for problems. The Steering group helped select achievable targets to monitor the progress of the program.
Anti-burglary coordinators. These were part-time employees who provided crucial links between program organizers and residents. They did much of their work out of a local sports center, so they were accessible to community residents.
Sports center supervisor. Although the supervisor was not initially recruited as part of the program team, he played a crucial role in working with the youth. Due to his long tenure in the position, youth in the community were familiar with him and trusted him. His outreach work was instrumental to the success of the youth intervention component.
Other stakeholders. Other partners or stakeholders included a community safety organization; a voluntary alarms project; landlord/housing associations; a sports center; residents’ associations; local councilors and residents; the Neighborhood Watch coordinator; and community police officers.
Reductions in burglary
Sturgeon–Adams, Adamson and Davidson (2005) found that the program led to a 25 percent reduction in overall burglaries reported in the target area. Thus, the average number of burglaries per month decreased from 17.5 in the 2 years prior to the program to 13.2 in the 2 years after. This compared with a 9 percent reduction in the local police division and a 12 percent reduction in the Cleveland Police Force Area. The researchers calculated that the impact of the interventions prevented 55 burglaries over a 2-year period.
The impact of the program was greater in the 1st year (38 burglaries avoided) compared to the 2nd year (17 burglaries avoided). After 4 years, the total reduction in burglaries was 28 percent, compared to a 13 percent reduction in the local police division and 8 percent in Cleveland Police Force Area. After 4 years, the total in burglaries prevented was calculated at 138.
Findings showed that the buffer zone experienced no increase in burglary, but rather a decrease similar to that of the treatment area. This decrease indicated a diffusion of benefits.
Reduction of repeat victimization
Over the 4-year period post-implementation, repeat victimization was reduced in the SDP by two and a half times the amount of the BCU.