Communities in fight against crime

Article date: 31 July 2002

With recorded crime figures on the rise, millions of Britonsbelieve community spirit is on the decline, a new study shows today(31 July 2002).

Research into the link between a sense of community and crimereveals that while there has been a drop in community spirit acrossthe country, the figures are worse in areas of social housing.

People living in social housing are twice as likely to becomevictims of crime* and Norwich Union’s ‘CommunityCrime’ study reveals that residents in these areas also had amuch greater fear for their personal safety and their property.

The study of 1,000 households and more than 350 council tenantsacross the country reveals one in three (36 per cent) of counciltenants have been a victim of crime and on average they’vesuffered at least twice.

Two in five tenants have been a victim of burglary, while athird have been assaulted and almost a quarter (23 per cent) havebeen robbed.

Norwich Union’s ‘Community Crime’ study alsoshows:

  • More than one third of people living on council estatesdon’t have adequate door locks and less than half (47 percent) have window locks. Only one in nine (11 per cent) haveburglar alarms
  • 43 per cent of council tenants say more youth drug programmeswould make them feel safer; 73 per cent want greater policepresence on estates and more than two in five want 24-hoursecurity patrols
  • Four in five people nationally think there should be closerconsultation with the community to identify and tackle communitysafety issues.

Norwich Union has joined forces with national crime reductionorganisation, Crime Concern, and are launching a new scheme totackle crime right where it’s needed most.

The Norwich Union Neighbourhood Apprenticeship Scheme focuses ontraining local people to become neighbourhood community apprenticeswithin their own communities.

The first three apprentices – to be announced later thisyear – will work under the guidance of experienced CrimeConcern Managers already working on crime reduction and drugeducation programmes in mainly low income neighbourhoods across thecountry.

Commenting on the findings, Jill Willis, market developmentmanager for Norwich Union Insurance, said: “As the UK'slargest household insurance company we want to understand the keyissues behind the crime figures, particularly in areas of socialhousing where the levels of crime are twice the nationalaverage.

“In fact, our research shows that fear of crime faroutweighs actual reported figures, with more than two thirds ofpeople living on council estates worrying about their personalsafety and that of their property.

"By funding these apprenticeship schemes we hope to have abetter understanding of what works best at a grass roots level inthe hope that we can build on and develop schemes like this in thefuture."

Nigel Whiskin, chief executive of Crime Concern, said:“Much of the crime in England and Wales takes place in alimited area and crime statistics show that 82 per cent of allrecorded robberies are in 10 of the 43 police force areas.

“We believe that action is needed to empower communitiesto help in the fight to reduce crime and with the Norwich UnionNeighbourhood Apprenticeship Scheme we’ll be able to targetthe areas most in need.”

Media contact:
Jane Wheeler (mobile – 07775 854 412)/Jo Misson at QBO on 0207379 0304 or Jenny Chapman (mobile – 07775 822 642) atNorwich Union on 08703 66 68 64.

Notes to editors

  • Norwich Union commissioned Connect Research to interview 366council tenants in London and the South East, West Midlands andScotland in June 2002. Sample included English speaking tenantsand non-English speaking Asian tenants.
  • Norwich Union also commissioned ICM Research Limited tointerview 1,000 households across the country about crime and homesecurity in June 2002.
  • Norwich Union is the UK’s largest insurer. In generalinsurance it is more than 1.5 times the size of its nearestcompetitor, and has a 19 per cent share of the market.
  • It has a focus on insurance for individuals and smallbusinesses. It insures:
    • one in five households
    • one in five motor vehicles
    • more than 700,000 businesses
  • Norwich Union products are available through a variety ofdistribution channels including brokers, corporate partners suchas banks and building societies and Norwich Union Direct.
  • Norwich Union’s news releases are available on the Avivaplc website at www.aviva.com
  • A selection of images is available from the Norwich UnionNewscast site at www.newscast.co.uk
  • An ISDN facility is available for studio quality interviews.Call the press office on 08703 66 68 68

For all life & pensions media enquiries 08703 66 68 73
For all other media enquiries 08706 66 68 68

* Crime Concern figure

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