Environmental Design and Crime

Crime varies by community, based on upkeep, income levels, and community involvement. Education on community safety is a big part as well. People willing to commit crimes, need to feel like they are going to be caught before a crime can even happen. If a community is run down and shows little upkeep, it invites crime, because it appears that people are not paying attention. In the eyes of a criminal, people may not care. There are many things that communities can do to alleviate crime.

People in low income neighborhoods often work odd hours and do not get the chance to know each other and enrich their communities with positive activity. The use of natural surveillance is a great way to decrease crime. This is a way of placing people and physical elements to visibly give a look of positive social interaction. One problem with this, is many designers and architects are ill educated when it comes to setting up communities to prevent crime. Another problem is that low income cities may not have the resources to properly maintain a community to decrease their crime rates.

There needs to be a connection between private and public space. There needs to be resources to have windows overlooking sidewalks and parking lots. In many places, people close window shades, but in reality they should be left up. Fences should be as sight limiting as possible. There should be lighting in as many areas as possible. There can not be opportunity for offenders to not be seen. Builders and communities need to assess the points of entry and exit to all homes and businesses. Neighborhood watches should take place in all neighborhoods.

This is not only a crime asset, but it teaches people how to notice possible crime going on within their communities. One problem with this, is that the communities that need this porgram the most, often find it the most difficult to follow through with. Many places need to partner with the police Environmental Design and Crime departments to become educated on how to make their community safe. This has taken the place of team policing. Team policing has been less effective, because it places emphasis on more long term issues, than a more quick response to criminals.

There are many neighborhoods where police patrolling is sparse. Criminals can pick up on this. There needs to be more consistency in policing of neighborhoods. People need to feel safe, and criminals need to feel that they can’t get away with anything. There needs to be an equal part in regard to participation from police and community based actions. Shopping centers and malls are a huge problem within communities. People may feel like they are controlled and safe, but this is not the case. You have buidings full of goods to be stolen, and people walking around with money.

There are many areas for people to hang out. This makes it easy for diversion. The parking lot os often a good place for crime, just do to the large volume of parked cars. The security in shopping centers and malls can vary greatly. There is often an unequal focus on the outside and inside, when looking for crime. There is often a shortage of staffing as well. There is no certain way to know whether someone is coming to the mall to shop or cause trouble. The way that malls and shopping centers can hinder criminals is by design quality. It follows the same type of scheme as the community overall.

When a shopping center or mall is built, ceiling height, lighting, colors, public transportation, parking facilities, and more should be considered. Where are the exits and entrances located? This is an area where the overall public cold hep as well. People can be empowered with education and resources to spot criminal behavior in a public place. Education would also involve what to do when criminal activity is going on.

References Poulin, KC. , & Nemeth, Charles P. (2005). Private Security and Public Safety: A Community-Based Approach. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall Inc.