UCL News


How the legacy of TV presenter Jill Dando lives on five years after her murder

26 April 2004

Five years ago on Monday 26 April 1999 Jill Dando, one of Britain 's best-known television journalists, was murdered.

Known as a household name for fronting programmes such as the Six O'Clock News, Breakfast News and Crimewatch, Jill's death prompted a public outcry.

To mark this year's anniversary researchers from UCL's Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science are available to brief journalists on new crime busting tactics under development.

As the only Institute of its kind in the UK , the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science h as become a centre of excellence in th e th e new and emerging field of crime science. It offers a radically new way of thinking about the problem of crime in society by focusing solely on reduction.

By bringing together expertise in forensic science, statistics, psychology, geography, design, and even town planning and a host of other disciplines , they take a more proactive approach to crime control through research on developing technologies and strategies that prevent crime crimes from happening in the first place . It is also concerned with the development of better ways of catching offenders once a crime has been committed .

The Institute was set up with one million pounds that was kindly donated to the Jill Dando Fund by the public. Now researchers want to share the good use this money has been put to in devising new and innovative ways to prevent tragedies such as Jill's death happening again.

Nick Ross from BBC's CrimeWatch programme, who was a close colleague of Jill's, is also on hand to talk about the genesis of the Institute as a lasting memorial to Jill.

Projects underway at the Institute include:

Crime Mapping Centre (Pan-London)

The Institute is developing new techniques to analys e the geographical patterns of crime includ ing working with the Government Office for London to produce the capital's first city-wide conducting the first London wide analysis of crime across the capital . Results due in May will show crime hotspots for rape, muggings, burglary, vehicle crime and more serious crimes .

Street crime risk (Westminster)

This innovative project is calculating the real risk of becoming a victim of crime. By will u s ing e use pedestrian modelling techniques to estimate on-street populations calculated against robbery hotspots, the researchers have shown it's possible to compare patterns of street crime risk in Westminster, i.e. present figures for Oxford Street suggest that approximately 50 per 1000 people are victims but these figures are based on the resident population and not the number of people actually on the street - , the research has revealed that actual people risk levels are closer to , which would push figure down to one per in a one million people .

Prostitute Carding (national theoretically but primarily Westminster in practice)

Funded by BT Payphones, the Institute is considering the best policy options for eliminating prostitute carding in BT phone boxes. BT is the only mobile phone provider that bars numbers that are found on prostitute cards. Now they are calling for other service providers to follow suit in a bid to stamp out this illegal carding practice. Over the past two weeks 19,000 prostitute cards have been collected in the Westminster area and analysis is underway to determine whether BT's policy on barring calls is effective.

Early Warning (Hackney)

The UK needs to get better at identifying new crime problems earlier. This GOL-funded project is to develop a guide on how this might be achieved in relation to violence associated with crack cocaine markets.

Civic Watch (Westminster)

The Institute are evaluating the Civic Watch anti-social behaviour initiative for Westminster City Council with Home Office funding.

Car Crime (Camden)

A short project analysing car crime in the Borough and developing a data-based action plan.

Retail Crime Against Ethnic Minorities (Camden , Haringey, Hackney, Ealing)

A study of the extent and nature of crime suffered by small ethnic minority businesses in London , funded by the Met and GOL.

Community Cohesion (national project but some work in Tower Hamlets)

Working with the National Centre for Policing Excellence, JDI is providing essential support to help develop the new policing doctrine intended to tackle break-downs in communities and pre-empt civil disorders.


Notes to editors

About the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science

The Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science was established on the second anniversary of her death. Based within the School of Public Policy at University College London, it has built an international reputation in the area of crime science in its three years of existence. The Institute 's broad aims are to: change the way in which crime and its control are thought about; apply scientific techniques to crime prevention and detection; improve quality of life through research, teaching and influencing public policy; and draw together reliable facts and research focused on the problems of crime. Visit the website at: http://www.jdi.ucl.ac.uk/