Posted on 28 July 2003
The Index, which measures six critical factors, may also provide a guide to the desirability of an area and its house prices.
Professor Roger Bowles, who has compiled the Index, says: “If you live on the Isles of Scilly, for example, your chances of being robbed are nil, according to the Index. If you live in London, Manchester or Birmingham the chances of suffering from crime are far higher. The surprise area is Gwent which beats even London when it comes to violent crime.”
Professor Bowles has taken data on both the crimes recorded by the police and estimates from the British Crime Survey, of the numbers of offences which households have experienced, even if they have not been reported to the police. It is estimated, for example, that the number of violent incidents which go unrecorded by the police can be five-and-a-half-times the number recorded.
He uses the data to estimate the chances that a household will suffer various types of crime: he also uses Home Office estimates of the cost of crimes to victims to assign ‘weights’ to the various types of offence. Crimes like violent and sexual offences are given greater weighting. Because police forces have standardised their recording procedure, he says it is possible to make reasonably reliable comparisons across areas for the first time.
The Index looks at six types of offences commonly affecting households, and for which there is good data - violence against a person, sexual offences, robbery, burglary of a dwelling, theft of a motor vehicle, and theft from a motor vehicle. For each type of offence the measure gives a score between 0 and 100, with a higher score representing greater public safety. A score of 100 represents complete safety, and no crime of the types measured. (The Isles of Scilly, Teesdale and Powys achieve this for robbery).
At the other end of the range a score of 0 represents a ‘nightmare’ scenario where households are virtually certain, over a period of a year, to be a victim of crime.
In North Yorkshire the figures are:
|Type of incident||Number of incidents|
|Violence against a person||85.6|
|Burglary of a dwelling||96.0|
|Theft of a motor vehicle||98.3|
|Theft from a motor vehicle||93.3|
The overall Index figure for North and South Yorkshire is 93.6, while West Yorkshire’s is 90.4.
Professor Bowles said: “People don’t like feeling unsafe, and they value improvements in the safety of the areas where they live, work or visit. House prices will tend to be higher in safer areas, all other things being equal. And information about where safety is lowest may help identify priority areas for action.
“The safety level achieved in an area will depend on lots of things including the amount of resources going into the fight against crime and the efficiency with which the resources are used.”
He added: “There is, of course, quite a lot of variation within police force areas as well as between them. And there is the question of where responsibility lies for responding to poor public safety standards. A public safety measure can help to identify the variation in what is being delivered. But it cannot by itself resolve conflicting pressures on criminal justice system resources, or give any clues as to the best ways to ensure public safety.”
Key to Public Safety by Police Force Area, 2002-03:
|Police Force Area||1||2||3||4||5||6||7|
|South Yorkshire PFA||87.1||99.7||98.6||91.2||96.1||88.2||93.6|
|North Yorkshire PFA||85.6||99.7||99.6||96.0||98.3||93.3||93.6|
|Thames Valley PFA||83.0||99.6||99.0||95.6||97.8||89.7||92.4|
|Devon & Cornwall PFA||80.5||99.7||99.6||97.2||98.8||93.1||91.7|
|Avon & Somerset PFA||81.5||99.5||98.0||93.8||96.2||88.3||91.4|
|West Yorkshire PFA||79.9||99.5||97.9||88.8||94.6||85.5||90.4|
|North Wales PFA||77.2||99.6||99.7||97.0||98.5||93.5||90.3|
|West Mercia PFA||76.9||99.6||99.5||96.6||98.6||93.9||90.2|
|South Wales PFA||77.1||99.7||99.4||95.7||95.2||88.7||89.8|
|Greater Manchester PFA||74.0||99.5||96.3||89.3||95.0||88.2||88.0|
|West Midlands PFA||72.1||99.4||96.5||93.1||95.4||89.2||87.4|
|Metropolitan Police PFA||67.0||99.3||95.0||93.7||96.1||88.5||85.3|
|England and Wales||78.48||99.54||98.17||94.59||97.03||90.68||90.38|
*Note: excludes City of London PFA (very small) and Kent (data missing)