Creating a Crime Reduction Partnership

Creating a Crime Reduction Partnership

Crime against business is a great challenge for traders and town centres alike. Retailers doing their best to make premises and merchandise attractive and accessible to genuine customers simultaneously become vulnerable. Far from being a victimless crime, shoplifting increases insurance premiums for retailers with costs being passed on to consumers. In addition to shoplifting, business related crime includes staff harassment, property damage, and vandalism. In a sector where profit margins are traditionally tighter than other sectors, stock loss can be the difference between a profitable shop and a vacant unit.

Crime Reduction Partnerships have gained popularity because preventing crime is more effective than clearing up after it, and because perceptions of safety impact directly on peoples' willingness to visit their town centre. As all shop owners are faced with a common challenge, many partnership groups have found it possible to foster cooperation between businesses, Police and local authorities, each contributing what they can. These contributions go into infrastructure for intelligence gathering, information sharing, data recording and the apprehension and prosecution of offenders.

Businesses who work with crime prevention and reduction partnerships have also found that it raises awareness amongst staff and can also positively impact their ability to recruit and retain good personnel. These specific partnerships are often run by or alongside the town centre partnership and vary from simple networks to complex strategic organisations. At every level they serve a valuable role in improving the conditions for traders and consumers alike.


Working with Local Crime Reduction Partnerships

There is great merit to linking high street specific crime reduction partnerships with existing partnerships covering wider areas. It is rare that offenders discriminate against potential victims. Depending on circumstance and opportunity, anyone can find themselves the target of crime. The offenders that plague the high street could also threaten surrounding neighbourhoods and residential areas and visa versa. Sharing information could be mutually beneficial. Sharing learning experiences and best practice could also be of great use, and there could be some efficiency savings and funding opportunities to be gained by working collaboratively.

It's important to make sure you have data on how effective any scheme to tackle business crime is. Just as in your business and action plan, make sure you define 'success' with KPI's that you can use to promote the success of the scheme.


Talk to your local Crime Prevention Officer

Most Police forces have a Crime Prevention Officer or similar, often working with the Crime Reduction Partnership, who will talk to businesses and visit their premises to provide free advice about ‘target hardening’ e.g. window locks, staff training, sight lines and much more. Take advantage of this free resource to make it harder for criminals to be opportunists.