City Angels is a project that supports people who are out and about in Chichester city centre on Friday nights. The project’s volunteers offer a calm voice, a listening ear and a hot drink to anyone in need.
In just over a year the City Angels project has already had a massive impact. Their work has contributed to a 56% reduction in violent crime on a Friday night.
City Angels use Lamplight to capture information about the people they support.
By combining their own data with official crime statistics the City Angels have been able to successfully demonstrate their impact and secure more funding in order to expand their service to cover Saturday nights.
The City Angels project was launched in January 2012, with two part-time support staff, 50 volunteers, a little drinks van called Charlie Alpha and lots of support from the police, pubs and district council.
Every Friday night volunteers capture on paper forms key pieces of information about the people they support. After the evening’s shift the information gets entered into Lamplight.
City Angels’ have been able to use their data on Lamplight to show that:
- Of all the people they supported, 47% were female, 53% were male.
- 78% of incidences the angels helped are due to alcohol related issues.
- 56% of people supported are between 21-30 years old.
- 25% are under 20 years old.
- Over the 12 months 220 glass bottles have been collected and disposed of to reduce the number of potential weapons available to people if a fight were to break-out.
- 114 people saw a change in their attitude after interacting with the angels.
- The angels noticed that 58% of the people they interacted with had a marked positive change in their attitude.
The local police were able to tell from their own crime statistics that in the previous 12 months there was a 56% reduction in violent crime on a Friday night. Interestingly, on Saturdays (when the angels aren’t on the streets) there was no change.
As City Angels have been able to evidence what work they’ve done and the impact it has had on the city’s crime statistics they have successfully secured funding to expand their service to cover Saturday nights.
The data here seems really convincing: it’s been a great natural experiment because it started small. Without the funding to run both nights, there’s been the ‘control group’ of Saturday nights with no angels, and they’ve seen the impact of the project both compared to the previous year and compared to a Saturday night during the same period. It also highlights for us the great strengths of the voluntary sector: this is a relatively cheap project, and it’s really simple: a cup of tea and a bunch of calm, friendly (and courageous) people in the right places at the right times.