[Press & Publications] SCARMAN CENTRE RESEARCH INTO THE CONTROL OF CRIME



October 1999

No 174

  • Street lighting reduces crime
  • Security guards don't want to make arrests
  • Hate crimes at work deserve special attention
  • The latest issue of the Security Journal is launched today. Co-edited by staff at the internationally-renowned Scarman Centre at the University of Leicester, the journal includes worrying independent evidence that opportunities to control crime are being missed.

    Dr Kate Painter and Professor David Farrington found from their research that improved street lighting led to decreases in crime. They offer two reasons:

  • Because streets were lighter there were less opportunities for offenders.
  • Street lighting played a part in generating a more cohesive community, people had more pride in their area. The benefits of street lighting continued into adjacent areas.
  • Dr Martin Gill, Centre Director and journal editor notes: "Once again good research is showing that there is quite a lot we can do about crime and that we don't necessarily have to leave things to the police. These findings should be heeded by all local authorities'.

    Deborah Michael found that despite rhetoric that private security personnel can replace the police, there is not much enthusiasm from newly appointed security officers for performing all the functions of the police.

    Ms Michael found that guards did not want stronger powers and were not enthusiastic about making arrests.

    Adrian Beck argues that 'There are clearly limits on the extent to which private security personnel could ever carry out all the roles and responsibilities of the police. The article certainly shows that in most circumstances private security officers should be considered in addition to, rather than instead of, the existing police'.

    Professor Bryan Byers discusses 'hate crimes', where the victims are at work and someone is responsible for their safety. Professor Byers argues more can be done to address hate crimes.

    He notes that people at work are victimised because of their race or sexual orientation and that hate crimes are pernicious and require tailored solutions. In the article he goes on to outline a series of suggestions as to how they might be dealt with.

    Adrian Beck states: 'We need to understand this very specific type of violence; it is not the case that all types of violence are the same and Professor Byers' article nicely illustrates the problem.'

    In other articles Taisheng Guo discusses developments in private security in modern China, and Professor Robert Homant discusses aspects of offender profiling.

    Note to editors: Dr Martin Gill can be contacted on 0116 252 5709, and at home on 0116 270 7742; and Adrian Beck on 0116 252 2830 and at home on 0116 270 1995.


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