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CEP policy analysis
Reducing Crime: More Police, More Prisons or More Pay?
Olivier Marie
July 2010
Paper No' CEPPA012:
Full Paper (pdf)

Tags: crime; police; prisons; uk

Just over 4.3 million crimes were recorded by the police forces of England and Wales in 2009/10, of which 71% were property crimes and 23% were violent crimes. The British Crime Survey, which asks consistent questions over time shows that overall crimes committed have fallen by almost half since 1997. Overall recorded crime has also fallen since the early 1990s. The introduction of better recording practices in 1997 and 2002, however, make it difficult to fully assess recent trends in violent crime, although it has clearly been decreasing in the past five years. Despite this fall in crime rates, three quarters of the public still think the national picture is worsening. Several crime-busting strategies work. First, increases in police numbers, combined with new policing strategies such as the Street Crime Initiative have reduced robberies. Second, targeting prolific offenders is an effective tool to reduce crime. Third, recent evidence suggests that early release on electronic monitoring helps reduce recidivism rates of ex-prisoners. There is no clear evidence that the large increase in locking people up has reduced cut crime, especially in terms of its long-term impact on offending behaviours. Poor education and bad labour market opportunities are associated with higher levels of crime. Government policies aimed at improving education and 'making work pay' can have indirect effects on crime reduction.

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