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Crime & Crime Prevention

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What is Crime and Crime Prevention?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines crime simply as “an action or omission which constitutes an offence and is punishable by law”. However, to understand why people commit crime and aim to prevent it, it is necessary to look beyond the law, including the influence of social, moral and political factors.

A crime is a deliberate act that causes physical or psychological harm, damage to or loss of property, and is against the law. There are lots of different types of crime and nearly everyone will experience a crime at some point in their lives. One in five people were affected by crime last year; the equivalent of ten million people. It affects people from all backgrounds, locations and ages; more than one in ten children have been a victim of crime in the past year.” Victim Support

The European Union Crime Prevention Network defines Crime Prevention as “ethically acceptable and evidence-based activities aimed at reducing the risk of crime occurring and its harmful consequences with the ultimate goal of working towards the improvement of the quality of life and safety of individuals, groups and communities”.

What Exactly is Crime Prevention?

The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) is considered to be a key source of information about trends in crime. It includes crimes that are not reported to, or recorded by, the police. Such information can help identify those most at risk of crime, which is useful when designing crime prevention programmes. The latest release is here.

The Beating Crime Plan 2021 sets out the UK Government’s strategic approach to cutting crime: cutting homicide, serious violence and neighbourhood crime; exposing and ending hidden harms; and building capability and capacity to deal with fraud and online crime. The plan follows a focus on ‘Safer Streets’, a series of community safety projects designed to crack down on neighbourhood crimes like burglary, vehicle theft and robbery. The initial two rounds of the Safer Streets Fund invested in the delivery of place-based crime prevention plans, to reduce acquisitive crime through situational crime prevention. The College of Policing have developed the Safer Streets Toolkit, which brings together a wide range of information and resources.

A third round of projects enables innovation as well as traditional interventions to improve the safety of public places. With a particular focus on reducing violence against women and girls (VAWG) and increase women and girls’ feelings of safety in public spaces (see Safety of Women at Night Fund). A further growing policy area is addressing online harms, with new internet laws being proposed by the UK Government in the Online Harms Bill. During 2020, the threat of cyber crime increased with more severe attacks in the UK, amplified due to more home working.

Legislation relating to different crime types can be found under each topic.

Useful Links

Advice and crime prevention – Police.uk

Visit Police.uk

Ask the Police UK

Visit Website

College of Policing Crime Reduction Toolkit

View the Toolkit

College of Policing Problem – Solving Practitioner Guide

Read the Guide

College of Policing Safer Streets toolkit

Read the Toolkit

Crime prevention – a European definition | EUCPN

Read the Definition

Crime prevention advice (Neighbourhood Watch)

Visit the Website

Crime type definitions | Metropolitan Police

Visit the Website

Fearless A to Z of Crime

Read the A-Z

Home Office Modern Crime Prevention Strategy 2016

Read the Strategy

Immobilise – The National Property Register

Visit the Website

Police Crime Prevention Security Guide:

Secured By Design

Visit the Website

What is a crime? – Victim Support

Visit the Website


Help and Support

For victims, families and concerned people

If you’ve witnessed or been the victim of crime, please report it to the Police. Call 101 or report it online depending on your region within Wales – South Wales Police, Dyfed Powys Police, Gwent Police or North Wales Police. In an emergency, call 999.

If you’re deaf or hard of hearing, use the Police textphone service 18000 or text on 999 if you’ve pre-registered with the emergencySMS service.

If you have information about crime and wish to remain anonymous, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online.

If you’ve been affected by crime, you can access support from Victim Support, including via their free 24/7 national support line 08 08 16 89 111, or get support online.

You may wish to consider joining Neighbourhood Watch, or other police supported initiatives such as OWL – Online Watch Link.

For more information on how you can keep yourself safe from crime, visit our Personal Safety page and for specialist help and support, visit the individual Topics sections of our website.