Crime hotspots exist throughout the North East, particularly in areas of disadvantage. Supporting projects in these areas enables more people to live free from the burden of crime and anti-social behaviour.
Reducing the impact of crime on individuals can take many forms. A priority for charitable funding is to help people who find themselves victims of crime. But support is also needed for less popular causes such as preventing re-offending.
Hidden crime can range from organised abuse of vulnerable people to individual acts of domestic violence or hatred directed at minority communities. Community groups are well-placed to shine a light on and tackle these problems.
In Middlesbrough and Newcastle there is one offence committed for every ten residents. Across much of Northumberland and County Durham the figure is far lower, but even here there are individual neighbourhoods that rank among the very worst in the country for levels of crime. Helping to narrow this gap, which often reflects the divide between well off and poorer communities, is one area where philanthropy can make a difference. Voluntary organisations that prevent crime, through providing youth services, patrolling the streets and helping people in need, make an important contribution which may be under threat as public funds reduce. Philanthropy is likely to be increasingly important in keeping them going.
Charitable funding can also support vital work with ex-offenders. The benefits to society of work to help them understand the impact of their actions and prevent re-offending are obvious. For the individuals concerned this can make all the difference, preventing a past history of criminal behaviour resulting in a “life sentence to poverty”.
Supporting victims of crime is also a top priority. Charitably funded organisations are often in the front line of work to help individuals and communities when bad things happen. Voluntary organisations’ close and trusted relationship with people and communities, means they can particularly support those affected by domestic violence, hate crime or sexual exploitation.