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Betting shops, ASB and crime

by Mark Rowe

Britain’s high streets have seen a spread in betting shops over the last five years. Is there a link between betting shops and anti-social behaviour and crime?

That was aired at two University of Essex public events in November, at Firstsite in Colchester and Clacton Town Hall, organised as part of the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) Festival of Social Science.

Host was Dr Neli Demireva, who is carrying out research into the impact of betting shops. She said: “Most local residents view the recent spread of betting shops, money lenders and pawnbrokers along their high streets as a complete blight on the neighbourhood. The rise of these types of businesses, fuelled by the recession, is changing the face of their neighbourhoods for the worse. Residents claim that small businesses and community groups are disappearing followed shortly by the arrival of opportunistic organisations such as betting shops. That may not actually be what’s happening, but that’s how local people see it.”

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