Community Safety Practice
Assessing Prevention and Reduction Issues
Before proposing a solution to a crime problem it's important to analyse the detail of problem to ensure that the best fix is applied rather than one which might be easily available (such as a ready made project) but which actually is not wha't required. The simplest of these is the PAT (Problem Analysis Triangle). PAT breaks down the elements of a crime problem into three component parts:
- The Victim or Target
- Location of the problem
Through the analysis of these three elements the specific community safety problem can be understood. This can then be combined with higher level (strategic assessments), either to provide a more comprehensive strategic understanding or, at the neighbourhood level, to better understand the relationship between the localised problem and any area wide influences. Such ways of working are at the heart of the current developments toward national standards for 'intelligence led business processes' 3.
For community safety to be effective and sustainable it has to be based upon facts and achieved through focused activity. The background issues need to be identified, an analysis needs to take place, there needs to be a developed response and that response needs to be assessed at intervals for effectiveness, continuity etc.
SARA is one of the basic concepts for guiding practitioners through the systematic development of community safety action. It can be used for strategic, tactical or operational purposes.
1. Scanning - identifying crime patterns using local knowledge, basic data and police/practitioner intelligence.
2. Analysis - using collected information to understand the key issues/causes of a crime or disorder problem and ‘drilling down’ to fully comprehend the nature of the problem and its extent (see PAT below).
3. Response - developing and implementing a ‘solution’ – a scheme of activities to challenge the problems (with clear objectives, tasks and timeline).
4. Assessment – reviewing the solution; did it work, or is it working and in need of extension?
Making Community Safety from Crime Prevention
The diagram below illustrates links between the strategic, tactical and operational aspects of crime prevention together. It also identifies that both strategic assessments must have real strategic intelligence and that is both police and community information and must be informed by local priorities - which can only be truly gauged through effective community engagement and local prioritisation.
The Community Safety Action brings together all the elements of strategic assessment and tactical assessment and practice. Advised by these assessments and the national and local priorities and resources available, it can provide for a more efficient use of resources and a more effective practice.
The purpose of this Guidance, published by the European Urban Security Forum and others, is to explain Safety Audits and to encourage and support their use. ‘It has been written for everyone who has a significant role to play in designing and funding crime prevention programs and in directing, developing or delivering crime prevention activity.
Home Office Research Unit paper. This report describes the findings from research on problem-solving undertaken by staff from
the Home Office Unit. The work was undertaken in parallel with
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary’s thematic inspection into crime and disorder and crime reduction (‘Calling Time on Crime’).