Professor Ian Loader participates in study on changing attitudes to crime in Macclesfield

Professor Ian Loader has taken part in a collaborative study with academics from the Universities of Keele, Edinburgh and University College London researching changing attitudes to crime in Macclesfield. The research team revisited the site of an earlier study carried out by Ian Loader, Evi Girling and Richard Sparks in the mid-1990s.

The new research found crime, such as robbery and burglary, has become less of a concern for people, who are now more focused on the care and repair of the local area – such as the conditions of roads, pavements and the state and future prospects of the town centre. Residents also expressed a high level of concern about cars and traffic, including issues with speeding, poor parking, and driver behaviour near school gates. 

Ian says: “Local place-talk in the 2020s is not first and foremost talk about crime – a striking change from what we found in the 1990s. People’s attention nowadays seems more focused on a range of harms that we might broadly term ‘environmental’. Acts of care and repair of the physical and natural environment are a prominent feature of civic and everyday life in the town.”

The researchers used a range of methods to investigate the experience and perceptions of safety and security among people living and working in town between 2019 and 2023. The team conducted two local surveys, interviews with local people and agencies, and observation of local groups and spaces to address these questions.

They say their findings reveal a need - and demand - for local agencies to create and sustain forms of active and inclusive dialogue with and between local people about how in the future the town can flourish.

The project Place, Crime and Insecurity in Everyday Life is now available online, and was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).