Crime reduction Summary

The final measure of crime reduction I will look at is that of architectural design. This is best illustrated by the concept of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, or CPTEC (pronounced sep-ted). This is the idea of using the physical environment as protection against attack and the goal is the reduction of opportunities for crime to occur. This reduction is achieved by employing physical design features that discourage crime, while at the same time encouraging legitimate use of the environment.

The uniqueness and success of CPTED stems from the manner in which these techniques are integrated with, and applied to, the architectural design process. Newman (1972) suggests that designing built environments in such a way as to increase defensible space can reduce crime. 6 Defensible Space are zones which, to provide maximum control, are divided into smaller, clearly defined areas. All areas are designated as either public, semi-private or private.

This designation defines the acceptable use of each zone and determines who has a right to occupy it under certain circumstances, therefore making it easier to see if there is someone in the area that should not be there. Next in the concept of design is territoriality. Territoriality involves an individual's perception of, and relationship with, the environment. A strong sense of territoriality encourages an individual to take control of his or her environment and defend it against attack. Architectural design can take account of this by establishing real or symbolic barriers, for example fencing, which should encourage territoriality.

Furthermore, if buildings are actually designed in a way that means people living in a complex can clearly see the surrounding area, then any criminal may be deterred by this opportunity for surveillance. Good lighting is one of the most effective crime deterrents. When used properly, light discourages criminal activity, enhances natural surveillance opportunities, and reduces fear. The Slateford Green residential complex in Edinburgh is a very good example of how architectural design used in correlation with CPTEC can provide a safe living complex and encourage a sense of community among residents.

Described as a car-free urban village, Slateford Green comprises 120 flats – 26 for sale, 25 for shared ownership and 69 for social rental including 17 for the Deaf Society and 4 for wheelchair use. 7 Slateford Green was actually designed by the winners of a competition, Hackland + Dore Architects, as it was felt that their design "newly interpreted the traditional tenement form to provide a fresh approach to living in the city, and that the progression from private to public space was subtly handled. "8 As was stated earlier, the use of public and private space is very important when considering this method of crime reduction.

As can be seen, there are many successful ways that we can try to reduce and prevent crime. However, these methods all have their problems, and this section of the essay, I will now highlight some of these troubles. Firstly, I will look at target hardening. The main problem with target hardening is the emergence of the 'fortress mentality'. Although this is possibly not so evident in the UK, there are many places in the world where bars on the windows, armed guards with dogs patrolling the high, barbed wire-tipped fences and security gates to be passed through before gaining entry to your own house.

This is target hardening taken to the extreme in unfortunate cases such as Zimbabwe, where the segregation of the rich and poor is in the extreme. Perhaps the National Violence Commission best explains the way in which target hardening can be too excessive. The National Violence Commission (1969:46) stated that these measures are intellectually sterile and have negative connotations of a deeply segregated community. "In a few years, lacking effective public action, this is how these cities will likely look;