asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what evaluative research is available to his Department on the effectiveness of neighbourhood watch schemes; and if he will make a statement.
I have received a summary of the results of an evaluation of the effect of two schemes, one in Acton, the other in Wimbledon. This research was funded by the Home Office and was carried out by the Cambridge Institute of Criminology. Crime and attitude surveys were carried out in both areas before the schemes were launched in 1985 and again after 12 months. Although there was no evidence of a change in crime levels as measured by the crime surveys, the attitude surveys showed a decrease in the fear of household crime, an improvement in residents' involvement with others in home protection, a reduction in fear of crime for females and an increase in social cohesion.I also understand that Merseyside police manpower development unit has completed an evaluation of four of its home watch schemes. This shows a substantial decrease in recorded burglary in three of the areas as well as a decrease in total recorded crime.