Urban Regeneration and Crime Reduction: Contradictions and Dilemmas in the U.K. Context

Lynn Hancock, Middlesex University

Since New Labour came to power in their landslide victory in 1997 a number of initiatives have been introduced or redeveloped with the aim of regenerating neighbourhoods experiencing deprivation on a range of indicators. Reducing crime and involving local communities form important parts of their remits. These initiatives include the (new) Single Regeneration Budget (SRB) the New Deal for Communities (NDC), and, more recently, a package of activities included in the National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal. A common theme running through these initiatives, and indeed others preceding them, is that they are to be pursued in partnerships involving local authorities, other statutory bodies, private, the voluntary and community sectors. While these developments signify that there have been some considerable improvements in the government's approach, questions remain about whether the major problems that undermined previous efforts to regenerate communities, and reduce crime, will persist under these initiatives, despite the government's claim that it has learned the lessons of the past. This paper seeks to address some of these issues and in so doing will show why it is simplistic to assume that community regeneration will reduce crime and disorder, particularly in declining and distressed neighbourhoods.

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Updated 05/20/2006