Data and Planning: Cambridgeshire Constabulary - Get Closer

Delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time is the crux of marketing, and never more so than in austere times.

Like many public-sector bodies, Cambridgeshire Constabulary has to deliver services more efficiently. As part of its approach to crime- reduction, the force looked at how it was communicating its crime-prevention message.

The "Get closer" campaign took data from the annual strategic assessment of the force’s performance to devise a seasonal crime trend calendar. This was used to target crime prevention communications most effectively.

Judges praised clever crime-trend analysis that allowed the force to identify the most problematic crimes and make communications smarter and more cost-effective. Rather than blanket messages, "Get closer" allowed pertinent communications to be delivered to likely victims, as well as perpetrators, at the most appropriate time.

For example, data identified two groups of shoplifters – prolific and first-time offenders. Analysis indicated the most-frequently stolen goods and affected stores, allowing focused communications, right up to the "point of theft" shelf-edges.

It was also found that juvenile offenders were often promising students. The hard-hitting message "It doesn’t matter how many A*s you get, no one wants to employ a thief" was delivered via posters on the doors of school toilets, targeted Facebook ads and radio spots during the school run. Cambridge identified key partners and stake- holders to work with and share costs and resources to deliver free or low-cost marketing activity.

With targeted campaigns running through the year, the force recorded a 10% decrease in crime for 2012/13, with a reduction in offences in targeted areas such as burglary, robbery, vehicle crime, arson and theft.

The crime calendar is now embedded in the force’s communications strategy.

"In a cost­ constrained world, the best thing to do is to prevent crime. it is smart to go further than simply targeting the individual on a behavioural basis. Cambridge Constabulary profiled offences and age groups rather than using a broad brush, and they thought about the channels for each message." Joe Hanley, external relations director, IBM

"This simple but highly effective campaign shows what can be achieved for very little investment if you use the data available to you to really understand your target audience and build a strategy to fit." Misa von Tunzelman, lead director UK marketing, communications and research, Jones Lang LaSalle


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