New research demonstrates that Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) are highly effective in reducing low-level business crime and Anti-Social Behaviour in their areas, and that the more they do, the more substantial are the benefits to levy-payers. Indeed, by analysing only the number of crimes reported to police, the report substantially underestimates the positive impact that the most active BIDs make in business crime reduction.
The Impact of Business Improvement Districts on Crime considers the crime-reduction achievements of BIDs established between 2012-2017, comparing them with crime levels before their creation, and with those achieved by 38 BIDs established between 2018 and 2019.
Looking at data showing the number of crimes reported to police in these areas, the report shows that, following the creation of the BIDs, the number of reported crimes fell by an average of between 10 and 11 in every three-month period.
The report, written by Giulia Faggio of City University, London, shows that BIDs with the most pro-active safety and security programmes achieved the highest levels of reduction, and that the highest levels were achieved by those that managed formal business crime reduction partnerships running banning and exclusion schemes.
Faggio’s research was based only on incidents of crime and ASB reported to police. Since this represents only a small proportion of all criminal incidents in any BID area, it is certain that her findings, while showing a significant reduction of crime, substantially under-state the real levels of crime reduction achieved in these areas.
“Looking at the functioning of BIDs and their commitment to fighting crime”, writes Faggio in her report, “my research clearly indicates that it would be crucial for BIDs to adopt active or very active crime prevention measures. Simply relying on passive safety measures would not guarantee a decline in local crime.”
Faggio warns that BIDs are likely to face a number of challenges going forward including the impact of the ‘cost-of-living crisis’ on their levy-payers, as well as the changing nature of retailing and the resultant impact on traditional retail centres. “UK BIDs have just carved out their own space among government and non-government organisations operating at the local level. The more effective UK BIDs will be in dealing with any of these challenges, the larger their future role will be” she says.
Download the full report, The Impact of Business Improvement Districts on Crime by Giulia Faggio, here.