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In case you haven’t read this elsewhere on The Crime Prevention Website (TCPW) I think you should know that I’m a former Metropolitan policeman who specialised in crime prevention for many years. From 2004 to 2010 I worked for ACPO’s Secured by Design project as one of their Development Officers with a responsibility for the south of England. I also represented the Met and ACPO on a number of BSI and European Committees and helped edit the SBD design guidance documents. You could say then that ‘I’ve been around the block’.
Back when I started to put together this website I had already experienced the gradual reduction in the numbers of crime prevention practitioners employed by the police service and I could see that this was going to continue as the police budget cuts started to take effect. So, with this uncanny ability to see into the future I thought I might be able to help both the public and the police service by launching my website.
Now you know the background I simply want to emphasise to you that TCPW has become one of the most visited non-police websites for crime prevention advice, a fact that has not been lost on many of my former colleagues with whom I am still in touch.
Ever since I launched the website I have been trying to encourage police forces to link to it in order to provide their visiting public with the opportunity to find extra help and advice beyond which a police website is able to offer. As I write, 15 of the 43 English police services (35%) have embedded a link to TCPW, (four are intranet links). This is good news for the development of the website, since this support encourages me to do even better!
The linking police websites are (as of 2016):
- Cambridgeshire (South Cam Cops Site)
- Hertfordshire (Intranet only)
- Hong Kong (Intranet only)
- London Metropolitan
- Northamptonshire (Intranet only)
- South Yorkshire
- Thames Valley
- Wayne County USA (an example of several from the USA)
- West Midlands
- West Yorkshire (Intranet only)
Links between websites are good for both websites, because they generate visitor traffic both ways and help the sites achieve better Google ranking – ‘Good for Google juice’ is the way it’s described!
If you would like your police service to link to TCPW then it’s really easy to do. Just go to ‘Link to us’ and follow the instructions. The difficult part is to convince those people in charge of your media to take the first step.
All the police services will have policies about which websites they will link to and which they will not – and they are all different! As an independent website operator you may think this is not ideal, but actually I think I’ve benefitted, because if all the police services worked off a single policy and that was not to link then I would be truly stuffed!
Before you consider whether you want to make an approach to the boss about a link please take a look at the findings of my Home Security Survey application which, at the time of writing, has been completed 6,787 times, which makes the findings very statistically significant:
In fact, The Home Security Survey Application could be the most important single reason why you might want to encourage a link to my website, because whilst it can never replace the traditional visit by the ‘Crime Prevention Officer’ it is at least the next best thing and is considerably more accurate and helpful than a simple checklist.
These are the evaluation results from the survey last updated August 2017
How would you rate the usefulness of this Home Security Survey?
- Extremely useful 24.2% (2017) 22.9% (2015)
- Very useful 45.5% (2017) 45.5% (2015)
- Moderately useful 28.6% (2017) 29.6% (2015)
- Not very useful 1.4% (2017) 1.4% (2015)
- Not useful at all 0.5% (2017) 0.6% (2015)
98.3% of respondents found the survey useful with almost 70% saying that it was very useful or extremely useful.
I have discovered that people are in the habit of OVERESTIMATING their home security arrangements. I know this because I ask a before the survey question and an after the survey question about how they rate their home security.
Before the survey
- Extremely secure 2.1% (2017) 2.2% (2015)
- Very secure 28.2% (2017) 28.9% (2015)
- Moderately Secure 60.3% (2017) 59.6% (2015)
- Not very secure 8.3% (2017) 8.1% (2015)
- Very insecure 1.1% (2017) 1.2% (2015)
After the survey
- Extremely secure 1.4% (2017) 1.6% (2015)
- Very secure 18.3% (2017) 19.0% (2015)
- Moderately Secure 66% (2017) 65.6% (2015)
- Not very secure 13% (2017) 12.7% (2015)
- Very insecure 1.2% (2017) 1.1% (2015)
Notice the large change in opinion of those who judge their security as either 'Extremely Secure' or ‘Very Secure’, which falls from 30.3% before taking the survey to 19.7% afterwards. See also the ‘Not Very Secure’ increasing from 8.3% to 13%! This is useful to know and tells us that the survey is definitely making the respondents think about their security and often realise that they’re not doing all they can.
What is the likelihood of you or somebody else carrying out some or all of the home security improvements that will be recommended to you?
- Extremely likely 23.6% (2017) 22.6% (2015)
- Very likely 34.7% (2017) 35.0% (2015)
- Likely 35.7% (2017) 36.3% (2015)
- Not very likely 4.8% (2017) 5.0% (2015)
- Not at all likely 1.1% (2017) 1.2% (2015)
This tells me that 94% of respondents have an intention of improving their home security, to a lesser or greater extent. It also suggests that they have been thinking about it beforehand and are using the survey as their starting point. It follows that the more people I can get to complete the survey the more people will actually do something.
What is the likelihood of you recommending this website to other people?
- Extremely likely 23.8% (2017) 22.6% (2015)
- Very likely 32.3% (2017) 33.2% (2015)
- Likely 37.4% (2017) 37.3% (2015)
- Not very likely 5.6% (2017) 5.9% (2015)
- Not at all likely 1.0% (2017) 0.8% (2015)
The visitor’s experience of visiting my website is very positive indeed (93.5% would recommend the site) and this will rub off on your own police website as it’s all part of what’s called (in website techie terms) ‘the total visitor experience’.
In your opinion, how does this website - The Crime Prevention Website.com -compare with other websites dealing with crime prevention and/or home security? (figures for 2017)
- Better than other related websites 27.6 %
- On a par with other related websites 17.6%
- Not as good as other related websites 0.5%
- I have not visited other related websites 54.3%
Of those people who have visited another website for crime prevention advice, which will include police websites, 60.4% of visitors rate my site better than others and 38.6% rate it as on a par. Only 1% (34 respondents) say it’s not as good as other sites. This means that my website is worth being associated with.
How would you rate the helpfulness of your local police in terms of their provision of crime prevention advice?
- I was not aware my local police provided such advice 52.9% (2017) 50.5% (2015) 49.2% (2014) 46.9% (2013)
- I have seen / been given advice by my police but it was not very helpful 7.6% (2017) 7.5% (2015) 7.3% (2014) 6.9% (2013)
- I have seen / been given advice by my police and it was helpful 29.7% (2017) 31.2% (2015) 31.9% (2014) 33.5% (2013)
- I have seen / been given advice by my police and it was very helpful 9.9% (2017) 10.7% (2015) 11.5% (2014) 12.7% (2013)
The provision of crime prevention services by some police services has suffered as a consequence of budget cuts, which probably accounts for the fact that since 2015 more than 50% of respondents don’t realise that they can get crime prevention advice from the police. My website promotes police crime prevention services and actually suggests that they should always visit their local police for advice in the first instance, because they need to know about the current crime risks in the area where they live. This I shall continue to do, but would bring your attention to the declining ‘helpfulness’ figures year on year. Since 2013 the positive 'helpfulness' rating given by respondents has fallen by 14%.
How did you find out about this website?
- From an internet search 43.4% (2017) 38.8% (2015) 35.8% (2014)
- Word of mouth 7.8% (2017) 7.3% (2015) 7.3% (2014)
- From the Police 17.1% (2017) 19.1% (2015) 20.1% (2014)
- From the Neighbourhood Watch 8.4% (2017) 10.3 (2015) 11.4% (2014)
- From the Victim Support Scheme 0.2% (2017) 0.2% (2015) 0.2% (2014)
- From Age UK or similar agency 0.1% (2017) 0.0% (2015) 0.0% (2014)
- From Crimestoppers 1.0% (2017) 0.9% (2015) 1.0% (2014)
- A local or national newspaper or magazine 1.1% (2017) 1.2% (2015) 1.3% (2014)
- Media coverage on TV or radio 0.3% (2017) 0.2% (2015) 0.1% (2014)
- Link from another website 15.6% (2017) 17% (2015) 17.6% (2014)
- None of the above 4.9% (2017) 5.0% (2015) 5.1% (2014)
Although 59% of visitors to my site (who take the home security survey) find it either through a search or via a link on another website it is gratifying to find that 17.1% of visitors are referred via the police service. However, referrals from the police have dropped from 20.1% in 2014 due to the loss of links caused by the transfer of several police websites onto a national website platform.
Why have you completed this Home Security Survey?
- To check my home security arrangements 65.4% (2017) 64.2% (2015) 63.9% (2014)
- Just out of interest 23% (2017) 25.1% (2015) 26.1% (2014)
- I’ve been the victim of a crime 7.7% (2017) 7.5% (2015) 7.2% (2014)
- I’ve completed the survey on behalf of someone else 1.3% (2017) 1.3% (2015) 1.2% (2014)
- Having made security improvements I’m doing the survey again 1.9% (2017) 1.7% (2015) 1.6% (2014)
No matter what reason is given for completing the survey I am in no doubt that they’re glad that they did it!
I hope you can see why a partnering link between my website and your police website would be very useful. And, you should also bear in mind, that I can help a partnering police force with their crime prevention effort by providing guidance when it’s required – just ask Lancashire Police about what they have done. Finally, I would be more than happy to promote your own crime prevention activity through my news pages and Facebook page – anything to keep spreading the important crime prevention message!
Thanks for reading