MOPPIN up Dodge

The project is based in Preston, a city in the North West of England. It focuses on a socially deprived neighbourhood which has long suffered from high crime and anti social behaviour. The housing and the environment generally has deteriorated considerably, with a significant amount of the accommodation un-occupied. The state of the housing aside, the environmental appearance was very poor which has supported a gang culture on the streets, fly tipping, drug dealing and a range of other criminality and anti social behaviour. The community spirit was very poor and there was little involvement by the community in the area.

In the sixty or so years since the estate was developed it had deteriorated to the extent that in 2003 it was placed in the top 5% of deprived communities in the United Kingdom. In 2005 a new neighbourhood policing team was established and using widely recognised approaches to partnership working and an accepted problem solving framework it completed the first two phases, conducting high level scanning of the area followed by a detailed analysis of the problems.

Among the objectives agreed were to:
    - reduce all crime by 15%
    - reduce the number of calls made for service by 15%
    - reduce the number of empty properties by 50%
    - improve the environmental appearance of estate
    - promote sustainable change

The response or activity phase ran through 2006 using a combination of enforcement activity, and situational and social crime prevention approaches. This proved to be extremely successful and all the objectives were met or surpassed. The evaluation process began at the end of 2006 and ran for twelve months. The assessment included comparison with a control area and measurement of possible displacement to neighbouring estates.

In quantitative terms, compared to the 2004 baseline all crime reduced by 57 calls for service were reduced by 46 and the number of empty properties was reduced by 58. Cost savings as a result of reduced crime were nearly £100,000 in 2007, and the ability to let properties again produced savings of about £110,000 in 2007.

A key consideration was to promote sustainable change, and a review of crime figures in the first quarter of 2008 indicated a stable situation, and one when compared with the same period 12 months earlier of a reduction of 53. This situation has endured because of the situational crime prevention approach adopted such as target hardening (closing or gating various access points); cleaning up the estate; improved lighting on houses, certain streets and footpaths; improved fencing and the creation of individual boundaries; introducing CCTV and modifying public places to discourage disorderly behaviour

Equally important were the social crime prevention aspects aimed at redirecting potential offenders away from the criminal justice system. A community garden has been developed and a “Surestart” centre opened providing advice to young parents on education, childcare, health and family support. The Community Centre is now being used to its full potential and offers a full range of services for the whole community. Other diversionary activities are available on the estate including a soccer training scheme. The Residents Group now has a dedicated Community Development Officer who is supporting the group to access external funding streams to further improve the estate and provide activities for children and adults. A further benefit of the approach adopted by this project is that it can be easily replicated; the improvement costs are low compared to the realisable financial benefits over time.

 

The project started in 2005 and is still running.
Last review: December 2009.