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Criminal Damage Reduction - Q_A

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					                                                  Criminal Damage Reduction Team, Home Office



                    Criminal Damage – Frequently Asked Questions


This document brings together frequently asked questions about Criminal Damage. If
you have a question which is not covered here or any other comments, please email:
Criminal.Damage@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Questions are arranged in themes. Use the shortcuts to get to the theme or go
straight to the relevant question:


Themes:

   Tackling Criminal Damage
   Tackling Graffiti
   Reporting and Clean Up
   Deterrents
   Engaging Young People
   Criminal Damage and Alcohol
   Engaging Partners and Funders
   Funding
   Statistics
   Success Stories
   Others


Frequently asked questions:

   How do we tackle criminal damage?
   How do we reduce criminal damage to vehicles?
   What works in tackling graffiti?
   Do graffiti boards work?
   What is the difference between a vandal and a graffiti artist?
   Who is responsible for fixing private/ transport services/ council property?
   If a defacement removal notice has been served on owners of street furniture and
    they do not clean the graffiti within 28 days, are we able to recover the costs?
   Who should I report criminal damage to?
   How do I deter people from committing criminal damage?
   Are there any practical ways I can reduce the opportunity for committing criminal
    damage?
   How do I engage young people and reduce their risk of committing criminal
    damage?
   Has there been any research or studies to determine whether there is any
    connection between criminal damage and alcohol?
   How do we tackle criminal damage which appears to be alcohol related?
   How do I get Trading Standards/ Environmental Health/ other partners engaged
    in tackling the problem?
   How do I persuade CDRP to treat criminal damage as a priority?
   Where can I get funding?
   Can we be part of the ENCAMS campaign?
   How can I avoid being penalised for increased levels of reporting?
   How can we discourage false reporting?
   What do we know nationally about who commits criminal damage?


FAQ compiled 04/10/06                                                                           - 1-
                                                Criminal Damage Reduction Team, Home Office




   What was the Tilley Award for Operation Mullion?
   Where do I find good practice?
   What publicity materials can we have?
   Can I get criminal damage offenders onto a prolific offenders scheme?
   How do I get more problem solving capacity?
   We are receiving conflicting and confusing messages from the centre about what
    is important.




FAQ compiled 04/10/06                                                                         - 2-
                                                     Criminal Damage Reduction Team, Home Office




    1. TACKLING CRIMINAL DAMAGE

    1.1 How do we tackle criminal damage?

       i.    Understanding the problem through analysis is a good start. Our guide,
             ‘Criminal Damage – Problem Analysis’ describes how to use data to
             understand what is happening. Our guide, ‘Tackling Vandalism and Other
             Criminal Damage’, describes why it's important and what approaches
             have been demonstrated to be successful in reducing crime. Both guides
             are available at: www.crimereduction.gov.uk/vandalism01.htm
       ii.   Apart from domestic violence, levels of repeat victimisation are highest for
             criminal damage. BCS interviews for 2005/06 indicated that 30% of
             victims suffered two or more incidents of criminal damage in 12 months.
             Understanding who or what is being repeatedly targeted may help to
             focus activity on areas at highest risk.

    1.2 How do we reduce criminal damage to vehicles?

       i.    There is limited specific information available on the nature of this form of
             criminal damage. The general principles of problem solving still apply, and
             successful solutions will tackle one or more of victim, offender and
             location. Problem analysis may help to identify patterns in the location,
             time and form the damage takes and may lead to a solution. For example,
             damage to vehicles may occur in streets near to a pub at closing time.
             Our guide, ‘Criminal Damage – Problem Analysis’ describes how to use
             data to understand what is happening. This is available at:
             www.crimereduction.gov.uk/vandalism01.htm




FAQ compiled 04/10/06                                                                              - 3-
                                                      Criminal Damage Reduction Team, Home Office



    2. TACKLING GRAFFITI

    2.1 What works in tackling graffiti?

        i.   Rapid repair is often seen as an effective way of tackling graffiti as a quick
             clean up removes the impact and therefore the ‘buzz’ for the perpetrator.
             This relies on the public being able to report graffiti easily and a quick
             response. For example, Lewisham Borough Council has a page on their
             website where the public can report graffiti through an online form, by
             telephone or by sending a photo:
             http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/TransportAndStreets/RoadsAndPavements/S
             treetCareAndCleaning/Graffiti.htm This initiative might be adopted by
             other local authorities, though they will recognise that a sustained
             commitment is required for sites that give updates of progress.
       ii.   Schemes such as ‘name that tag’ have also been used to encourage the
             identification of the perpetrator and seem to have lead to a drop in the
             level of graffiti in targeted areas. The London Borough of Southwark is
             running a ‘Stop Them and Shop Them’ campaign in tagging hotspot
             areas, offering a reward for any information that leads to the prosecution
             of persistent ‘taggers’. Since the campaign started in 2004 Southwark
             Council has seen a 35% decrease in reported graffiti in the borough:
             http://www.southwark.gov.uk/YourServices/environment/CampaignsandE
             ducation/
             Crimestoppers have usefully been involved in similar schemes:
             http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org/
      iii.   The British Transport Police (BTP) has a national data base of tags. It is
             well established and there is an existing protocol for providing access to
             local authorities. Contact your local BTP officer for more information:
             http://www.btp.police.uk/
      iv.    Covert surveillance can aid apprehension of offenders. In Birmingham,
             the City Council achieved this by commissioning covert surveillance
             teams backed up by police arrest teams.
       v.    Strong education messages, delivered through schools and youth groups
             that graffiti and other forms of criminal damage is an offence, is one
             preventative approach.
      vi.    Agencies, working together to tackle graffiti can prove the most effective.
             For example, in Surrey the police are working with the local authority,
             county council, British Transport Police, schools and local youth groups.
             The project has been running for three years and focuses on cleaning up
             graffiti, prevention by connecting with young people through the district
             youth council. Youth diversionary activities are important and the CDRP
             has funded these through youth clubs and a recently opened youth cafe.
             Young people are often not aware that damaging property by graffiti is a
             criminal offence and education is a crucial element of the
             project. Specialist youth affairs police officers and PCSO's spread this
             message through schools and also point out the consequences of being
             caught damaging property.
     vii.    The website: www.graffitihotline.co.uk has a range of useful information
             about tackling graffiti. The site is run by Proud Industrial, an organisation
             that provides graffiti and fly poster removal and control services.
     viii.   Our guides ‘Tackling Vandalism and Other Criminal Damage’ and
             ‘Tackling Youth Vandalism’ give more information and are available at:
             www.crimereduction.gov.uk/vandalism01.htm




FAQ compiled 04/10/06                                                                               - 4-
                                                       Criminal Damage Reduction Team, Home Office



    2.2 Do graffiti boards work?

       i.    There is no firm evidence that graffiti boards work, although Northumbria
             University are currently assessing legal sites and have produced an
             extensive paper which includes information on the potential benefits and
             risks of using graffiti boards. An executive summary is available on their
             website:
             http://northumbria.ac.uk/sd/academic/sas/sas_research/pa/consultres/graf
             fiti/
       ii.   The arguments against use of graffiti boards include:

             o   Unsupervised graffiti boards in public spaces may seem to endorse
                 graffiti and blur the distinction between what is a crime and what is
                 not. It follows that any graffiti or ‘street art’ scheme should stress that
                 permission is required to avoid committing, or encouraging, crime.

             o   Where equipment is not provided it will need to be taken to the graffiti
                 board. This will provide offenders intent on doing graffiti with a ready
                 made excuse which will hinder effective police enforcement action.

             o     Anecdotal evidence has also indicated that sometimes the levels of
                   graffiti near locations where it is legal to spray graffiti has actually
                   increased, due to individuals spraying graffiti as they walk to and from
                   the site.
      iii.   We recognise that some practitioners are supportive, and supervised
             graffiti boards where equipment has been provided for the purposes of an
             art project may act as a useful diversion for young people. One example
             of such a scheme is at the Chillingham Road Metro in Newcastle:
             http://northumbria.ac.uk/sd/academic/sas/sas_research/pa/consultres/graf
             fiti/news/462751?view=Standard&image=2&referer=/sd/academic/sas/sas
             _research/pa/consultres/graffiti/news/
      iv.    But we suggest that any such scheme is only considered as part of a
             wider approach to tackling graffiti which includes diversion work with
             young people, rapid repair of illegal graffiti, education campaigns and
             enforcement work.

2.2 What is the difference between a vandal and a graffiti artist?

       i.    It is criminal damage when graffiti causes damage to another person’s
             property without permission and where it costs money to restore. The
             artistic merit of the work is immaterial (as well as subjective). Of course,
             many areas will have protocols in place whereby particularly offensive
             graffiti, for example on places of worship or which might amount to hate
             crime, are removed more quickly.




FAQ compiled 04/10/06                                                                                - 5-
                                                        Criminal Damage Reduction Team, Home Office



3. REPORTING & CLEAN UP


    3.1 Who is responsible for fixing private/ transport services/ council
    property?

           i.   The person who owns the property is responsible for fixing the damage
                and may be able to cover the cost through insurance.

    3.2 Who should I report criminal damage to?

           i.   As criminal damage is a crime it should be reported to the police.
          ii.   To repair the damage, the owner should be contacted.
         iii.   Public phone boxes: To report graffiti on telephone boxes, call 151 from
                the telephone box or email customerserve.payphone@bt.com


    3.3 If a defacement removal notice has been served on owners of street
    furniture and they do not clean the graffiti within 28 days, are we able to
    recover the costs?

    i.          Yes, you can recover the costs but need to be aware that there can be
                practical difficulties in safely accessing graffiti within these timescales,
                particularly when dealing with Network Rail.
    ii.         When recovering costs, it is important to be realistic about the costs
                involved. This might include the costs of running cleaning vehicles, officer
                time on site, pre and post investigation work and the cost of materials.
    iii.        The company can appeal if they feel the costs are excessive. Part of the
                requirement for using this power is for the local authority to enter into a
                partnership agreement with the owner. This will set out the standards of
                service and costs for cleaning to avoid appeals.




FAQ compiled 04/10/06                                                                                 - 6-
                                                       Criminal Damage Reduction Team, Home Office



4. DETERRENTS

    4.1 How do I deter people from committing criminal damage?

          i.    Offenders underestimate the cost of criminal damage. The estimated
                average cost to an individual who has been a victim of criminal damage is
                thought to be approximately £850 (The Economic and Social Costs of
                Crime against Individuals and Households (Home Office On-Line Report
                30/05) – this includes an estimated cost of emotional impact). The 2004
                Offending Crime and Justice Survey (OCJS) found that offenders’
                estimates of the cost of their action was frequently between £21 and £50
                for vehicle damage and for other damage was most likely to be less than
                £5. Making the perpetrators aware of the financial and other impact on
                victims may have some effect.
         ii.    Convicted offenders will have a criminal record and this will have
                consequences for employment and limit opportunities for travel abroad.
                Offenders may also be fined or given ASBOs. The maximum sentence for
                criminal damage is life. Communicating these consequences may help to
                deter people from committing.
         iii.   Increasing the fear of apprehension may act as a deterrent. For example,
                covert surveillance and ‘name that tag’ initiatives.

    4.2 Are there any practical ways I can reduce the opportunity for
    committing criminal damage?

    i.          Anecdotal evidence suggests that a huge amount of vandalism involves
                the use of builder’s material or rubble along roads and streets. In areas
                where there is a large amount of regeneration, demolition and building,
                look into the Considerate Constructor scheme. This ties the building
                contractor into an agreement ensuring that surrounding areas are free
                from potential missiles and well maintained:
                http://www.considerateconstructorsscheme.org.uk/




FAQ compiled 04/10/06                                                                                - 7-
                                                          Criminal Damage Reduction Team, Home Office



5. ENGAGING YOUNG PEOPLE

    5.1 How do I engage young people and reduce their risk of offending?

       i.           Criminal damage is mainly a young person’s crime; the peak age for
                    committing criminal damage is between 14 and 17.
       ii.          Any attempts to engage young people are more likely to succeed if they
                    are consulted and fully involved in the development of programmes.
      iii.          The Youth Justice Board funded 16 prevention programmes, working with
                    young first time or persistent offenders. An evaluation of the programmes
                    is available on their website: http://www.youth-justice-
                    board.gov.uk/Publications/Scripts/prodView.asp?idProduct=161&eP=YJB
      iv.           Our guide, ‘Tackling Youth Vandalism’ gives information about
                    programmes designed to divert young people from vandalism. This is
                    available at: www.crimereduction.gov.uk/vandalism01.htm


6. CRIMINAL DAMAGE AND ALCOHOL

             6.1 Has there been any research or studies to determine whether there
             is any connection between criminal damage and alcohol?

             i.        The Offending and Criminal Justice Survey asks offenders their
                       motivation for a range of crimes. For criminal damage, 27% of
                       offenders reported that they were under the influence of alcohol at the
                       time of the offence, higher than the 18% of offenders who reported
                       alcohol use at the time of committing offences of violence. Further
                       useful information in the offenders’ survey can be found at:
                       http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs05/hosb2005.pdf
             ii.       The Youth Lifestyles Survey (1998/99) records 24% of 18 – 24 year
                       olds broke destroyed or damaged something belonging to someone
                       else during or after drinking.

             6.2 How do we tackle criminal damage which appears to be alcohol
             related?

             iii.      Mapping crimes, particularly night time ones might help you identify
                       how close incidents of criminal damage are to pubs or routes to and
                       from pubs.
             iv.       In Birmingham there was evidence of offenders leaving local pubs and
                       within metres smashing bus shelters. The offenders were witnessed,
                       arrested and charged in a joint operation between the City Council,
                       West Midlands Police Safer Travel Team and CENTRO (bus
                       operator).




FAQ compiled 04/10/06                                                                                   - 8-
                                                       Criminal Damage Reduction Team, Home Office



7. ENGAGING PARTNERS/ FUNDERS

    7.1 How do I get Trading Standards/ Environmental Health/ other partners
    engaged in tackling the problem?

        i.    Joined up working between partners will result in more effective delivery
              for all concerned.
       ii.    This year (2006) the Tilley Awards recognised Hampshire Constabulary’s
              Operation Mullion as an example of successful partnership working to
              tackle criminal damage. A case study is available on the Together
              website: http://www.together.gov.uk/article.asp?aid=3815&c=408
      iii.    A range of statutory agencies will have an interest in addressing problem
              people and places. These agencies are encouraged through the
              inspection process to fully commit to working in partnership with each
              other. The first approach is to encourage dialogue at the local level,
              escalating to management level if necessary.

    7.2 How do I persuade CDRPs to treat criminal damage as a priority?

        i.    At the national level, criminal damage accounts for 25% of all British
              Crime Survey (BCS) 2005/06 crime. In some areas it may well account for
              much more. Its high volume means that failure to tackle it will make
              meeting locally negotiated crime reduction targets much more difficult to
              meet.
       ii.    Criminal damage affects a significant proportion of households. According
              to the BCS 2005/06, 7.6% of households in England and Wales had
              experienced some form of criminal damage in the previous 12 months.
       iii.   Criminal damage matters to people; 28% of people think vandalism is a
              big, or fairly big, problem in their area; this rises to 41% in deprived areas.
              Nine per cent of people from urban areas say that vandalism is their
              biggest problem (BCS 03/04).
      iv.     Criminal Damage is one of the seven strands by which we measure
              people’s perception of anti social behaviour. Tackling criminal damage will
              therefore not only help reduce the number of offences, but also people’s
              perception of anti social behaviour.




FAQ compiled 04/10/06                                                                                - 9-
                                                     Criminal Damage Reduction Team, Home Office



8. FUNDING

    8.1 Where can I get funding?

       i.    Where Local Area Agreements (LAAs) are in place it is the Local Strategic
             Partnership, in conjunction with other local partners, that determines
             priorities for funding and you will need to participate in discussions in that
             forum to agree how LAA funding will be spent.
       ii.   Where LAAs are not yet in place, available funding is channelled through
             the Safer and Stronger Communities Fund. This fund brings together
             Home Office and Department for Communities and Local Government
             (DCLG) funding aimed at tackling crime, illegal drugs and anti-social
             behaviour, and improving the poor condition of streets and other public
             spaces and the quality of life for people in deprived areas. This is
             available to all CDRPs where LAAs are not in place.

    8.2 Can we be part of the ENCAMS campaign?

       i.    The ENCAMS consultancy work is currently ongoing, and all the
             participants have been notified of their involvement. The Home Office will
             be reviewing the programme upon completion at the end of this financial
             year (2006/2007) with a view to publishing and spreading good practice
             findings. If you are interested in exploring ENCAMS support in your work
             outside of this programme, you can contact them direct to explore what
             opportunities are available: http://www.encams.org/home/




FAQ compiled 04/10/06                                                                              - 10 -
                                                      Criminal Damage Reduction Team, Home Office



9. STATISTICS

    9.1 How can I avoid being penalised for increased levels of reporting?

       i.    The Home Office recognise that this is an issue and are looking at
             possible solutions. Under consideration are proxy measures to assess the
             level of criminal damage, for example Fire and Rescue Service call outs
             for arson and Environmental Visual Audits which may be a way of
             assessing the impact of initiatives to reduce levels of criminal damage.
       ii.   In relation to the Single Non-Emergency Number (SNEN) we are
             investigating with pilot forces whether they are able to collect their crime
             data in a way which records the origin of the crime report and so allows
             SNEN generated reports to be disaggregated.
      iii.   We would welcome any ideas you have on this.

    9.2 How can we discourage false reporting?

       i.    Where false reporting is suspected, you may wish to consider asking for a
             report to be made in person at a police station where more detailed
             questions can be asked about when and how the damage occurred.
       ii.   You may wish to consider locally with your housing associations whether
             you can put arrangements in place which mean householders will be
             covered for repair to costs resulting from accidental damage. This may
             reduce the temptation for householders to report damage as a crime
             when it is accidental in order to get repairs free of charge.
      iii.   You should bear in mind that while reducing false reporting will provide a
             more accurate picture of offending for problem solving, nationally only 1 in
             3 crimes is reported, so the picture will still only be partial.
      iv.    Any effort to tackle false reporting will not give any real reduction in crime,
             so avoid putting too much effort in this direction.

    9.3 What do we know nationally about who commits criminal damage?

       i.    According to the Offending, Crime and Justice Survey 2004, the peak
             ages for committing criminal damage are 14 to 15 for males and between
             14 and 17 for females. Though the numbers these findings are based on
             are small, and should therefore best be taken as indicative, they are
             supported by a range of other information. For example, court results for
             2004 show that the vast majority of offenders found guilty were men, and
             15-17 and 21 and over are biggest male age groups.
       ii.   Criminal damage is frequently committed with at least one other person;
             according to the OCJS 2004 just under a third reported that the offence
             was carried out alone. The offence was often committed with friends and
             in 16% of cases with groups of six or more.




FAQ compiled 04/10/06                                                                               - 11 -
                                                        Criminal Damage Reduction Team, Home Office



10. SUCCESS STORIES


    10.1 What was the Tilley Award for Operation Mullion?

        i.      This year an award was given for partnership working to tackle criminal
                damage to Hampshire Constabulary’s Operation Mullion. The initiative
                resulted in significant reductions in criminal damage.

    Operation Mullion
    Mayfield school is the largest secondary school in Portsmouth. It has, over a
    number of years, suffered with a reputation for persistent anti-social behaviour by
    children, and was considered to be at the centre of criminal activity in the area.

    Officers and analysts identified that more than twice the number of crimes had
    been recorded at Mayfield over the same period than had been recorded in all
    the other schools in Portsmouth combined. Over two years criminal investigations
    involving Mayfield cost police approximately £42,000. The school itself spent a
    further £20,000 on repairs from damage caused by criminal activity.

    Community surveys established that a majority of residents were living in fear of
    groups of youths. They perceived that these youths were responsible for much of
    the crime. Partnership data also identified that there was a significant lack of
    communication between agencies on these issues.

    The response to this problem has involved a number of initiatives,
        The area around the school was given designated status under anti-social
         behaviour legislation. This allowed for it to be policed more robustly. Large
         groups were identified and dispersed.
        The school site was secured, helping to prevent incidents of criminal
         damage and burglary.
        Theft within the school was tackled through educational work with pupils,
         provision of crime prevention packs including, for example, ultra violet pens
         and security stickers to mark property, and through gaining agreement on
         installation of a secure cycle cage (due summer 2006).
        Robust policy on exclusion and truancy. Partnership working between the
         school and the police ensured that the school grounds and surrounding
         area was patrolled more effectively.

    The project has been running for just over two years. In that time there have been
    the following results:

            A reduction of 39 per cent in the number of police attendances at the school.
            Substantial reductions in criminal damage, in mobile phone theft, and in
             vehicle crime.
            Police investigation costs reduced by 36 per cent.
            Pupil exclusions reduced by 42 per cent.
            Anti-social behaviour in the area reduced by 38 per cent.


    10.2 Where do I find good practice?

        i.      The Home Office has published a series of good practice guides which
                can be found at: http://www.crimereduction.gov.uk/vandalism01.htm



FAQ compiled 04/10/06                                                                                 - 12 -
                                                     Criminal Damage Reduction Team, Home Office




    10.3 What publicity materials can we have?

       i.    Materials are currently under development and we do not have any
             available at this stage. But we’d be grateful for any specific suggestions
             of what you’d find helpful.




FAQ compiled 04/10/06                                                                              - 13 -
                                                     Criminal Damage Reduction Team, Home Office



11. OTHERS

11.1 Can I get criminal damage offenders onto a prolific offenders scheme?

       i.    The Prolific and Other Priority Offender (PPO) Programme is led by
             CDRPs working closely with Local Criminal Justice Boards. The police,
             local authorities, prison and probation services, and youth offending
             teams identify a prolific offender through local intelligence and monitor
             them closely. Local areas are able to determine their own definitions of
             what a prolific and other priority offender (PPO) should be.

11.2 How do I get more problem solving capacity?

       i.    Local police forces and CDRP should already have analytical capability
             and the best use should be made of this. If this is not sufficient resource
             then you could contact the crime lead at your GO/WAG who can provide
             advice from regional analytical teams.

11.3 We are receiving conflicting and confusing messages from the centre
about what is important.

       i.    Our Public Service Agreement (PSA) target 1 is to ‘Reduce crime by 15%,
             and further in high crime areas, by 2007-08’ and PSA target 2 is to ‘Re-
             assure the public, reducing the fear of crime and anti-social behaviour,
             and building confidence in the Criminal Justice System without
             compromising fairness’.
       ii.   The PSAs translate into crime reduction targets negotiated locally with
             Government Offices/Welsh Assembly Government that reflect your priority
             crime areas.




FAQ compiled 04/10/06                                                                              - 14 -

				
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