Experiencing Crime and Disorder -- Lessons From "High-Crime" Communities in the UK

Karen Evans, University of Liverpool

This paper reports on work which the author has completed as a researcher and a community safety practitioner in a number of "high crime" communities in the North of England. It explores the different paradigms which have dominated in crime prevention policy over the last decade, especially tracing their development and implementation in the British context. Using material gained from ethnographic study, victimisation surveys and interviews with practitioners, residents and community activists in three high crime neighbourhoods in the UK, the paper explores the reality of working and living in such areas and questions the efficacy of the solutions which the dominant policy discourses present. The paper concludes by arguing that not all areas of urban deprivation are responding to the changing climate of the late twentieth century in the same way although this fact is often ignored by the imperatives of centrally driven policies and targets. It further suggests that policy-makers and practitioners must appreciate the dynamism of communities in which crime prevention initiatives are to be implemented, and that they should be flexible enough to respond to the particular circumstances present in each local neighbourhood.

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Updated 05/20/2006