Headlines: February 17th, 1999

A new report has thrown more light on how crime can be inadvertently encouraged by factors such as poor building design and poor management of places where crime can break out, such as pubs and bars.The report will be useful to police forces and local authorities working to draw up the first ever joint action plans to fight crime on an area by area basis.

Opportunity Makes the Thief, published by the Policing and Reducing Crime Unit at the Home Office, shows how crime can arise out of opportunity.

The report says that studies of bars and pubs show that their management and design can lead to violence – such as when they are very large, dominated by jostling young males and manned by untrained and inexperienced bar staff.

It also suggests resources to tackle crime should be focused on local hotspots. For example, drugdealers and second hand markets can be responsible for attracting and spreading crime in an area.

It also urges planners to consider crime potential problems when involved in urban planning. For example, locating a school near a shopping centre may lead to shoplifting and truancy problems.