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Environmental Criminology

Environmental Criminology

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Environmental Criminology

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  1. Environmental Criminology Corey Yermus

  2. What is EC? • Environmental criminology is the study of crime, criminality and victimization as they relateto particular places. It is also used to explore the way that individuals and organizations shape their activities spatially. • A number of different approaches are aimed at reducing the occurrence of criminal events by examining the physicality in which the crimes occur. • Environmental criminology explores how criminal opportunities are generated given the nature of the existing setting.

  3. EC contd. • A crime occurs when the following four elements come together. • A law • An offender • A victim/target • A Place • Environmental criminology's focus is on the Place and what can be designed, or changed to augment criminal behavior in an area.

  4. Defensible Space • A focus of Environmental Criminology is that the physical design and layout of urban living environments are principal factors that determine why some places are more vulnerable to crime than others. • It emphasizes the fact that the built environment is more easily manipulated making it potentially more influential on crime prevention. • The dominant theoretical framework put forward to explain the contribution that environmental design and layout play in creating opportunities for crime is Oscar Newman’s defensible space theory.

  5. Defensible Space contd. • Newman’s defensible space theory refers to the systematic way in which the physical design of urban residential environments can be manipulated in order to create spaces that are less vulnerable to crime by providing residents with more opportunities to control their space and defend it if necessary. • Defensible space’s goal is to create an environment in which latent territoriality and a sense of community in the inhabitants can be translated into responsibility for ensuring a safe, productive and well maintained living space.

  6. Defensible Space contd. • Defensible space is a surrogate term for a range of mechanisms, real and symbolic barriers, defined areas of influence and improved opportunities for surveillance. • This is done by grouping dwelling units, delineating pathways of movement, defining areas of activity for particular users and by providing natural opportunities for visual surveillance. • Architects and designers can position units, windows and entries and prescribe paths of movement to provide the inhabitants with continuous natural surveillance.

  7. The Problem • Developments built for middle to low income occupancy usually suffer from a higher crime rate then upper income areas, this is due, in part, by physical characteristics that reinforce criminal behavior, these characteristics are: • Projects are usually very large accommodating thousands. • Usually seven plus stories tall. • The site is spread over 4-6 city blocks creating a superblock close to city traffic. • Composed in a free compositional pattern. • Designed as one continuous space, open to surrounding streets. • Seldom differentiating grounds.

  8. Pruitt-Igoe Houses • Across the street from Pruitt-Igoe was an older, smaller, row house complex, Carr Square Village, occupied by an identical population. It had remained fully occupied and trouble-free throughout the construction, occupancy, and decline of Pruitt-Igoe.

  9. Defensible Space • Defensible space is supposed to combat the factors that ultimately lead to the abuse and high crime rate that occurs in communities like Pruitt-Igoe. • It is activated through three critical components: • Territoriality • Natural Surveillance • Image/Milieu

  10. Territoriality • The main effect of creating ‘defensible space’ is that it provides residents with a system that allows them to control areas surrounding their homes, including streets and grounds outside their premises, as well as common areas within shared premises such as apartment buildings. • The sub-division of space into zones of influence and control should result in a clear delineation between public, private and semi-private space. These zones of control are created through the use of barriers that disrupt movement between public and private spaces.

  11. Territoriality • The use of fencing, gateways, burglar-proofing, locks and walls as examples of real, physical barriers that would reduce both crime and fear of crime in residential areas. • These types of physical barriers work with symbolic barriers, which do not physically restrict entry to an area but, rather, psychologically convey the message of private or restricted access. • Symbolic barriers can be created through the use of plantings or landscaping around houses, territorial markings and signage.

  12. Territoriality • The creation of these boundaries results in the emergence of spheres of control; within which the behavior of users of the space is limited by what residents define as the norm. • This type of control results in feelings of community security and defensibility. Together, physical and symbolic barriers communicate a clear message to outsiders to keep out. • Territoriality is a critical mechanism for creating an cohesive residential environment, making it well contained and easier to monitor and control.

  13. Natural Surveillance • Natural surveillance is one of the keys to maintaining resident controls over their space. Natural surveillance is defined as the capacity of physical design to provide surveillance opportunities for residents. • Windows and doors that are designed to face each other along a street have better visibility of the private and public space around residences. • This increases the observability of an area, thereby increasing the probability that potential offenders would be spotted more easily or caught in the act.

  14. Natural Surveillance • Lines of sight from residences should be clear and unobstructed in order to enable a good view of their surrounding area. • Natural surveillance mechanisms serve to reinforce territoriality, because it reduces fear among residents by generating the feeling that they are under constant observation by other residents. • Natural surveillance results in the more frequent use of space by residents, which in turn increases surveillance and improves the desire to defend that space.

  15. Image/Milieu • Image and milieu are also a central component of defensible space; This element suggests that the appearance of residential space creates and influences the perception of the lifestyle of the inhabitants. • When the image of an area is a negative one it becomes negatively differentiated from surrounding areas, making it vulnerable to criminal activity. It also increases fear and discourages inhabitants from spending time in their space and managing it as their own. • This also results in the deterioration of the effectiveness of natural surveillance.

  16. Image/Milieu • The aesthetic image of residential areas is also generated by the types of areas and facilities that adjoin it. If urban areas, streets or paths are recognized as being safe, adjoining areas benefit from the safety in a real sense and also by association. • Natural surveillance, image and milieu function as components of territoriality. The relationship among them is one where the central concept is territoriality and natural surveillance, image and milieu are all mechanisms that facilitate territoriality.

  17. Defensible Space- in practice • Some implementations of the defensible space theory are as follows: • Open spaces for public use (sitting, playing, walking areas) should be visible and adjacent to residence. • Stairwells, corridors, hallways and elevators should be visible and distinguished as semi-private spaces. • Semi-public areas should be well marked and highly visible. • Housing should blend in with the existing environment.

  18. Defensible Space- in practice • Public areas should provide tenant surveillance for Semi-public and private areas. • Entrances should be clear with no obstructions to visibility (trees, cars etc.) • Buildings should be smaller to minimize tenants but can have the same tenant density. (avoid high-rises) • Names, personally painted doors, mailboxes and door knockers should display ones name or show personal touches of care.

  19. Defensible Space – In Action Clason Point • Row-house development in South Bronx, New York • Clason Point is a 400-unit public housing project located in the South Bronx, a comparatively high-crime area of the city of New York. • It consists of 46 buildings, mostly contain row houses. • At 25 units per acre, this is a dense project by row house standards. • Such a high density was achieved by limiting off-street parking to 0.15 spaces. This project was constructed during WWII thus few people had cars.

  20. Clason Point • 32% of the project was occupied by elderly whites, • 29% by African-American families, • 24% by Puerto Rican families, • 15% White families • Intergenerational and interracial conflict was common on the undefined public grounds. • Residents revealed that they were fearful of being victimized by criminals, both during the day and in the evening. • The new presence of gangs and drug dealers had severely changed residents patterns of activity.

  21. Clason Point • Modified the development to adhere to defensible space principles.  • This tested the principles of defensible space. • Would residents adopt these areas as their own and assume responsibility for maintaining and securing them after the changes were put in place?

  22. Clason Point -Goals of modification • To intensify tenant surveillance of the grounds. • To reduce the public areas of the project by differentiating grounds and paths, creating a hierarchy of pubic, semi-public, and private areas. • To increase the sense of ownership felt by the residents. • To reduce the stigma of public housing allow the residents to relate better to their surroundings. • To reduce intergenerational/interracial conflict. • To intensify the use of semi-public grounds in socially beneficial ways to encourage and extend tenant responsibility.

  23. Clason Point Implementation • Public areas were restricted and aligned along a central pedestrian path extending the full length of the project. This walkway was to be augmented with a series of secondary public paths leading into the surrounding streets. • The paths are located to face building fronts in order to maximize public surveillance. • To highlight the public walkways the design called for the Widening of the path using colored/decorative paving and differentiating front lawns from the public path.

  24. Clason Point • Addition of public seating in the center of the public path. • New and decorative lighting was employed to highlight the new public paths and recreation areas. This also worked to increase surveillance opportunities at night and increase feelings of security. • Backyard areas that were previous clustered for 8-12 residences were differentiated from the public paths and play areas by tubular steel fencing and gates six feet high. This also prevented entry from the rear doors.

  25. Clason Point • Paths and low curbs were used to delineate individual front yards for each unit. • Building facades were resurfaced in varying colors (resident selected) and textures so that each became distinct. • Communal/Public areas were modified to create areas for older, teenage and child residents • Adult areas were designed for sitting, gatherings and table top games. • The teenage area was constructed in a circular fashion, suited for group use. Separated by a low wall. • The children's area includes built in play equipment and seating for supervision.

  26. CP- Evaluation • The changes converted 80% of the previously public ground. • 12-months after the modifications overall crime rate dropped 54%. • A 28% reduction in monthly burglary rates was evident (5.15/1000 to 3.71/1000 residents). • The monthly robbery rate was reduced from 1.95/1000 residents to 0. • A 42% reduction in the monthly assault rate was seen dropping from 0.53/1000 to 0.31/1000 residents.

  27. CP- Evaluation • For burglary, robbery & assault’s the average crime rate was reduced by 61.5% • The questioning of strangers and a reduced fear of questioning strangers increased from 27 to 50% • Tenet satisfaction showed significant improvements in the reduction of fear, in increased surveillance on the part of the tenants and in the quality of their living environment. • The modified central area was used intensively by the community discouraging illicit activity. • Tenant maintenance of the grounds increased by 80%

  28. CMHC CPTED • The Canadian Mortgage and Housing corporation (CMHC). • Is responsible for administering the National Housing Act. • Designed to aid the the improvement of housing and living conditions in Canada. • One way of doing this is Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED).

  29. CPTED • Works in 2 ways. • To directly reduce crime by restricting access to property and removing criminal opportunities • To indirectly reduce crime, fear and related problems by influencing the behavior of residents or potential offenders. • This relies heavily on the defensible space theory to guide decisions and the construction of residential areas.

  30. CPTED • Like the defensible space theory CPTED is not concerned with addressing the root cause of crime but limits its solutions to variables that can be manipulated in the physical environment. • Using the defensible space theory what specific crime prevention measures can be utilized through the use of environmental design? • It other words, what design features or layout of buildings and there surrounding areas would best prevent crime?

  31. CPTED • 5 main CPTED components. • Defensible Space • Surveillance • Target hardening • Neighborhood design • Tactical support factors

  32. CPTED – Defensible Space • The creation of defensible space is meant to deter crime in four ways: • The capacity of the physical environment to create perceived zones of territorial influences. • The capacity of the physical design to provide surveillance opportunities for residents. • The capacity of physical design to influence the perception of a project’s uniqueness, isolation and stigma. • The influence of area around the housing complex’s location, including environmental and socio-economic characteristics.

  33. CPTED – Defensible Space • The deterring principles are put in action in three ways • Providing a clear definition of controlled space • Private spaces on residential lots should look different from public streets. • Communal facilities on housing estates should be built in places that can communicate that they are not for public use. • Leases/rentals should specify rights, responsibilities and maintenance arrangements for all public, communal and private spaces in and around the residence. • A visual buffer in the form of a yard or patio should be built between public pathways and private areas of the dwelling.

  34. CPTED – Defensible Space • Real or symbolic barriers should be erected to discourage strangers from entering the residents territory. Fencing, signs and shrubbery can be used. This can also to used to create semi-private entrances to communal spaces. Multi-Family Developments • Subdivide housing complexes into small enclaves so they are easily recognizable by the residents (unique design). • Open space needs to belong to a specific group of dwellings. • 4-8 units per access point, limit the number per floor. (common entrance/elevator)

  35. CPTED – Defensible Space • Provide clearly marked transitional zones • Increase lighting at the entrance or just prior to it. • Changing the texture or the pattern of a walkway as one gets closer to the entrance. (concrete to brick) • Change the level of walkways. Private footpaths may be a couple steps higher then public paths. • Inside a building a change in floor color can mark transitional zones.

  36. CPTED – Defensible Space • Design space to maximize the perception of natural surveillance. • Locate windows and entries to maximize natural surveillance of open spaces, parking lots and play grounds. • Ensure each dwelling entry is visible from as many other dwellings as possible. • Gathering areas should be placed in locations with natural surveillance and access control • Solid fencing to limit viewing into private spaces but not blocking vantage points from within the dwelling.

  37. CPTED – Real Surveillance • Surveillance operates in two ways 1. The psychological • Facilitating the feelings of territoriality 2. The real • The ability of residents and bystanders to actually spot offenders. This facilitates deterrence, apprehension through both natural and formal surveillance • The fundamental assumption in surveillance is that local residents will be more likely to notice intruders and that potential offenders will be deterred from these sights because of this.

  38. CPTED – Real Surveillance • Neighborhood watch, and programs like it are community organized, intentional surveillance techniques. • Closed-circuit television (CCTV) is a type of formal surveillance hardware. It both deters and detects intruders. Often integrated with natural surveillance. • Motion sensors, magnetic contact doors, alarm systems etc. are all forms of surveillance hardware.

  39. CPTED – Target Hardening • Target hardening is a strategy that involves efforts to make dwellings more difficult to penetrate, this includes. • Locks, reinforced walls, fortified doors, window bars, laminated glass, fencing and door locks. • Another form of target hardening is property identification • The engraving of valuables with unique ID numbers • This will deter burglars by lowering the economic gain and increase the risk of apprehension. • It will also increase the probability of the stolen item begin returned.

  40. CPTED – Neighborhood Design This examines specific neighborhood attributes in light of CPTED principles these include: open public spaces, pathways, space around housing, parking lots, landscaping, and land use. Open Public Spaces • Provide at least one ‘safe’ pedestrian route. • Design for easy maintenance. • Use surveillance form overlooking buildings • Avoid layouts where the rear of houses adjoin public space. • Play areas should be highly visible from housing • Should be protected from access by unauthorized vehicles.

  41. CPTED – Neighborhood Design Pathways • Should be short, direct, straight and narrow, avoid bends that restrict vantage points • Maximum surveillance including lighting, visibility form dwellings • Visibility for pedestrians who use the path • No underpasses • Should follow a road • Leads to shops or bus routes.

  42. CPTED – Neighborhood Design Housing and immediate surrounding areas CPTED provides a series of questions that serve as a checklist to ensure that the house and its surrounding areas are designed to maximize security. • Will there be adequate exterior lighting around the home? • Are windows on the ground floor kept to a minimum? • Are entrances visible to police patrol? • Are there locks, alarms, anti- intrusion devices installed? • Is the home address clearly visible? • Are points of concealment at a minimum? • Is there sufficient access to sidewalks and residences for emergency vehicles?

  43. CPTED – Neighborhood Design Car Parking Areas Parking in a drive way or garage is the best place for a car, however that is not always possible for apartments and multiple occupancy dwellings. Some strategies for crime prevention in car park areas are as follows: • Limiting entry points and provide sturdy locked gates. • Direct access from parking to dwelling. • Limit pillars to increase surveillance in enclosed lots. • Use stretch cable over retaining walls to increase surveillance. • Maximize lighting over lanes and spots. • Mark pedestrian/directional routes and exits within the lot.

  44. CPTED – Neighborhood Design Landscape Design The principle that guides landscape design is that ground-level planting should nor provide concealment for criminals; there must be maximum observation. • Plant growth rates should be assessed. • Plants should be regularly maintained and trimmed. • Shrubs should be set back from the edges of paths. • Thorny plants should be considered. • Shrubs kept away from windows and doors. • The lower the better. • Should be vandal proof.

  45. CPTED – Neighborhood Design Apartment buildings, condominiums and high-rise projects also have access/exit control applications. The most common form is a telephone or intercom entry system. Certain factors will help to provide a benefit to occupants using the system: • There should be good lighting for good visibility • Everyone should know the system and not allow unauthorized access to strangers • Number of tenants for the system should be limited • Strong lock, door and door closer should be ensured. • Panels should be plain and flush. • Policy for deliveries.

  46. CPTED – Support Factors Management • Superintendents are responsible for maintenance of the physical environment, this lessens the attraction for crime. • Management of the complex is responsible for tenant screening and evicting problem residents. • Control the child density in public housing. • Encouraging a sense of ownership in the residents. • Management is responsible to interact with residents to promote CPTED initiatives.

  47. CPTED – Support Factors Resident Participation Management must encourage resident participation creating a community partnership in the formulation and implementation of CPTED. • Encourage tenant groups to develop self-help approaches to security. • Set up security education programs. • Set up a crime reporting system. • Use informal surveillance (natural).

  48. Defensible space- In practice • Defensible space tries to minimize vulnerability to crime as well as promote intervention by changing the existing environment. • What makes Defensible space work in practice is having a motivated, vigilant population that is willing to act provides the maximum opportunity to intervene by calling the police or physically confronting the situation. • Kitty Genovese – Did defensible space break down?

  49. Critiquing Defensible Space • Much of the criticism is directed at the neglect of basic social, psychological and behavioral processes as critical underlying mechanisms in the creation of defensible space. • The simplistic behavioral assumptions of the defensible space theory take for granted the universality of perception. • Some potential offenders might be deterred by natural surveillance and the increased risk of detection, others might not. Some people perceive environmental cues in entirely different way.

  50. Critiquing Defensible Space • The defensible space theory does not address the fundamental issues and root causes of crime. • It also concentrates on deterring opportunities for crime and as such only displaces it to another location. • When the motivation for offending is not modified and when crime prevention measures are not practiced widely neighborhoods will present alternative opportunities for crime.