Client: Dalston City Partnership and Heart of Hackney regeneration
Campaign: Hackney Safer Streets Campaign
PR Team: In-house, London Borough of Hackney
Timescale: Mar - Dec 1997
Cost: pounds 28,000
Hackney has long been one of London’s more deprived boroughs and suffers
from inevitably high crime figures.
In 1996 Hackney Council’s first ever Residents’ Attitude Survey
identified rising crime as the issue most concerning local people.
Another report, an audit of local crime by the charity Crime Concern,
showed which areas of the borough had the highest figures for street
crime and painted a profile of typical victims and perpetrators.
Spearheaded by Hackney Council, the project partners Crime Concern, The
Metropolitan Police and the regeneration agencies, Dalston City
Partnership and Heart of Hackney, decided to target the criminals
themselves, their associates and families - the first time anyone has
taken such an approach in the UK.
To reduce street robbery and the fear of attack. To tell those already
involved in criminal activities, or thinking about it, that mugging does
not pay. To reassure the public that action was being taken. To build
better relationships between agencies involved in community safety,
particularly between the Council and the police.
The partners agreed a campaign plan which Hackney Council’s public
relations and communications team then put it into action. The main
slogan was ’Respect Not Robbery’.
High visibility at street level was very important. The campaign ran in
four phases, each with a different poster up on around 150 sites and on
The borough community safety co-ordinator visited businesses in worst
hit areas, distributing postcards and stickers to go in shop
Advertisements and supporting editorial went into Hackney Today, the
Council magazine which is delivered to 91,000 homes and businesses in
Although the Council continuously updated newsletters and leaflets, it
was important to reach less literate residents. So the visuals were made
very strong and each partner used their contacts to distribute them
everywhere from laundrettes to taxi offices.
Young people were a key audience. Kiss 100 and Choice FM produced three
radio ads at cost price, starring a real-life criminal uttering words of
warning. Both stations backed the campaign with regular news
Information packs also went into schools to back up classroom
At the Hackney Show, which attracted 30,000 people, local graffiti
artists and young visitors painted a huge mural with the campaign
slogan. This will soon go up close to the town hall.
Press releases went out at every stage of the campaign and elicited wide
Hackney Council surveyed around 1,000 residents and businesses in the
four main areas after each stage of the campaign, at a cost of pounds
This showed a rise in confidence. The second Hackney Residents’
Attitudes Survey, in November 1997, also showed a ten per cent fall,
year-on-year, in the level of concern about violence against the person
to 42 per cent.
The seasonally adjusted reported crime figures dropped by almost 20 per
cent, according to the police.
An unlikely proposition, targeting criminals with a community campaign,
seems to have worked. The reduction in reported crime speaks for itself,
and there is a new co-operative relationship between the Council and the
local police force. It has prompted a fresh look at community safety,
with a new three-strong specialist unit, including a policeman, at the
Council and a massive consultation exercise with local people which will
produce a new strategy by spring 1999.
If a measure of success is long-lasting change, then this campaign, and
the local people of Hackney, are winners.