Crime and public health: systematic mapping of theory and relationships, and systematic review of interventions
Start date: April 2010
End date: July 2012
Crime is an important influence on health and wellbeing but the pathways between crime, and fear of crime and public health are not well understood. Clearly, violent crime has a direct effect on physical health, causing injury and death. Marked increases in homicide rates have also been noted in societies with large and increasing social inequalities, such as the Russian Federation and Brazil, and point to a relationship between violence and the fabric of society. The effect of crime on mental health, although less visible, may be just as devastating. Being a victim of crime can be traumatic, but fear of crime and the perception (even if not correct) that crime is on the increase may have profound effects on mental health and wellbeing.
This project aimed to answer three linked questions, these are:
1. What are the relationships between: actual risk/rates/prevalence of crime in neighbourhoods; perceived risk/fear of crime in neighbourhoods; physical and mental health.
And how do these relationships vary for different socioeconomic groups/levels of deprivation of neighbourhoods?
2. What are the implications for the development of environmental or other interventions which aim to reduce crime or to improve living environments or both?
3. What is the evidence for the effectiveness of behavioural or environmental interventions which may be implemented in local neighbourhoods?
This project was funded by NIHR (http://www.nets.nihr.ac.uk/projects/phr/09300014 ) as part of the Public Health Research Programme. The grant is held in the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Findings from these reviews are now published (see below) and have been presented at a range of international scientific conferences, as well as to local policy and practitioner audiences.
Lorenc T, Petticrew M, Whitehead M, Neary D, Clayton S, Wright K, Thomson H, Cummins S, Sowden A, Renton A. Crime, fear of crime and mental health: synthesis of theory and systematic reviews of interventions and qualitative evidence. Public Health Research 2014;2:1-424open access
Lorenc T, Petticrew M, Whitehead M, Neary D, Clayton S, Wright K, Thomson H, Cummins S, Sowden A, Renton A. Environmental interventions to reduce fear of crime: systematic review of effectiveness. Systematic Reviews 2013;2:30pubmed open access
Lorenc T, Petticrew M, Whitehead M, Neary D, Clayton S, Wright K, Thomson H, Cummins S, Sowden A, Renton A. Fear of crime and the environment: systematic review of UK qualitative evidence. BMC Public Health 2013;13:496pubmed open access