4. How safe is the area?
The page is part of an E-resource for LSx's Sustainability Matrix tool. For more information please click here
What success would mean
“Our city will be a place where everyone feels at ease and is able to enjoy life. All who live, work and play in the city will be able to pursue their objectives in peace, free from the threat of crime, violence or intrusion.”
London Sustainable Development Commission1
A safe area is good for...
More responsible, strong and cohesive communities - social cohesion is highly correlated with material deprivation. There is evidence that well maintained streets and urban areas reduce the fear of crime or violence with subsequent impacts on health and psychological well-being.2
Healthy and well-supported people - fear of crime and feelings of fear are said to erode quality of life and are associated with poor health, especially in older age.3
A strong local economy - private investment and business development is less likely to be encouraged in areas where confidence in the local community is low.4
Examples of Relevant National Indicators:
NI15: Serious violent crime rate
NI16: Serious acquisitive crime rate
NI17: Perceptions of anti-social behaviour
NI40: Number of drug users recorded as being in effective treatment
Responsible Retailer Agreements
What is it?
This process uses a problem-solving approach to deal with problem businesses that are negatively impacting on their local environments and communities.
The voluntary, signed agreement, helps businesses identify what causes the problems, and how partners can work together to find a long term resolution. It also outlines mutual responsibilities and commitment.
The agreement specifies prohibitions as well as positive actions that the business must take.
This process offers an alternative to enforcements.
How does it work?
In the London Borough of Barking a complex Responsible Retailer Agreement to tackle an ASB hotspot around a parade of shops is being piloted.
The agreement addressed issues such as supplying alcohol to street drinkers, fly-tipping and inappropriate storage of waste in adjacent alleyways and poorly maintained shop frontages. These issues all contribute to poor local environmental quality and increased fear of crime.
An agreement with all the shopkeepers aims to engage business outside of the usual enforcement relationship, and get their support to tackle street drinking and rough sleeping.
What are the main impacts?
Increasing safety – by reducing levels of anti-social behaviour.
Respectful, strong and cohesive communities – partners gain an understanding of each others’ needs. By involving the community in the solution multiple issues can be tackled at once.
Well-kept area - the agreement generally encourages business to recognise their role in keeping the area well kept, giving it a new positive identity. This can only benefit the wider community and ideally, increase usage of the area.
Healthy and well-supported people - anti-social behaviour can affect a person's physical and mental health. Neighbourhoods with high crime and disorder rates have correspondingly high health needs.
Stronger local economy – increasing usage of an area is good for the local economy.
Environmental sustainability – through improved local environmental quality.
For more information contact:
1. London Sustainable Development Commission
2. Green, G. et al, 2002. Fear of Crime and Health in Residential Tower Blocks: A Case Study in Liverpool, UK. The European Journal of Public Health 12 (1), pp 10-15.
3. McKee, K. and Milner, C., 2000. Health, Fear of Crime and Psychosocial Functioning in Older People. Journal of Health Psychology 5 (4) pp 473-486.
4. London Health Commission, 2006. Sustainable Local Economies for Health project (SLEHP).