While crime rates in England and Wales have been falling, the perception has remained, for many, that crime is rising. It has also been assumed that fear of crime is high, although measures of fear have been declining since the mid-1990s. Of greater concern is a concurrent decline in confidence in the police. This ‘gap’ underpins the need for reassurance as a means of gaining legitimacy for policing decisions. We consider the background to reassurance policing and examine interpretation at ground level through interviews with officers involved in a strategy trial based upon a ‘signal crimes’ perspective.