In a pioneering analysis of ‘the state of crime in Scotland’ published in 1964, Shields and Duncan paint a bleak picture of crime trends across the country. Drawing on police statistics they reveal a 277 per cent rise in crime between 1927 and 1962, the product, they contend, of increasing material possessions, rising aspirations and ‘the diminution of formerly strongly held moral and religious scruples which in the past may have prevented those who could not obtain desired goods legitimately from helping themselves illegitimately’ (Shields and Duncan 1964: 19-20). Yet amidst this depressing picture of an unrelenting rise in crime they highlight a small but significant example of success in tackling crime. According to their analysis of police data in 1954-5, Greenock, a town on the Firth of Clyde to the west of Glasgow, was ‘Scotland’s top housebreaking area’ (ibid.: 60). But over the next seven years, while Scotland’s recorded housebreaking rates continued to rise steeply, Greenock was alone in showing ‘a substantial decrease’ and had ‘fallen to seventh position in the housebreaking hierarchy’. What accounts for this remarkable change in Greenock’s fortunes? Analysis at the time suggested ‘certain special measures of crime prevention carried through from March 1955 by the Greenock police’.