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Published -
May 7, 2021

Building safer neighbourhoods

Our approach to focusing our place-based work.


Over the past few years there’s been a significant increase in serious violence. Between 2014 and 2018, the number of knife-related offences committed by children rose. And as knife-related crime grew, so
did the number of children being recorded as victims.

We know that a lot of violent crime happens in very specific local areas. That’s why we’ve launched our Neighbourhood Fund. We’ll work in small areas to understand the challenges and opportunities communities are facing, then co-design, test and evaluate solutions that respond to their local needs and context. We want to learn whether this type of approach can work, particularly in areas where there are higher numbers of children involved in crime and violence.

This report sets out how we’ve identified the areas we’ll invest in through the first round of the Neighbourhood Fund. Because of a lack of information on crime and violence in small areas, we’ve looked at data at the local authority level. We’ll then work with those authorities and the local
community to find the neighbourhoods where the need for support is greatest.

We’ve tried to find out where, across England and Wales, there are higher numbers of children involved in crime and violence. However, there’s no single way to do this. We explain what data we’ve used, some of the judgements and trade-offs we’ve made and the final methodology we’ve settled on.

We have considered multiple approaches and data sources for ranking local authority areas. Our preferred methodology uses data on violent offences committed by children. As a result, the five areas we’ve chosen for the first round of the Neighbourhood Fund are:

  • Birmingham
  • Manchester
  • Norfolk
  • Bradford
  • Cardiff

These areas are those that have both the highest absolute numbers of violent offences, as well as high rates per head. We also chose our methodology to ensure we picked a range of different areas across England and Wales. This means we’ll be able to test what works to address a range of local issues.

If we had selected a different approach to rank local authorities there would have been some differences in which came out on top. But, of the five approaches considered, there was a large amount of overlap. As a result we’re confident in our results.

We hope that, by publishing our methods, we’ll provide transparency in the thinking behind our decisions. We look forward to working with local partners to better understand how we can work together to keep the children who live in their areas safe.