Street Crime in London: Deterrence, Disruption and Displacement

Curran, Kathryn; Dale, Michael; Edmunds, Mark; Hough, Mike; Millie, Andrew and Wagstaff, Melissa (2005). Street Crime in London: Deterrence, Disruption and Displacement. Government Office for London, London, UK.


This study has examined street crime in London, focusing on the causes of the ‘epidemic’ of 2000 and 2001 and its decrease from November 2001.3 It has examined the impact of the early stages of the Street Crime Initiative (SCI) and other policing initiatives in one of the ten SCI areas, testing for geographical, functional and tactical displacement. The study was commissioned in response to concerns from local authorities and police about crime displacement occurring in areas outside the SCI. It was largely conducted over a six-month period from October 2002, examining the available statistics in detail. Displacement was assessed mainly by comparing street crime trends over time and place and by examining changes in the length of ‘journeys to work’ made by street offenders. This analysis was supplemented by 121 interviews. Of these 73 were conducted with street offenders who were asked about their patterns of offending, and their awareness of, and responses to, the SCI. Finally, police and other professionals involved in implementing the SCI in London were interviewed.4

3 This study used the MPS definition of ‘street crime’ (robbery of personal property and snatch theft).
4. After this work was completed, the SCI continued to operate for a further two years in each of the ten SCI areas and a number of evaluations of different aspects of the initiative have been conducted (See Tilley et. al, 2004 and Machin and Marie forthcoming).

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