Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) 2nd Generation.

Despite enjoying relative crime safety in comparison to global communities, Australian design and construction authorities have consistently taken a complacent approach to CPTED inclusion leaving practitioners mystified. Unfortunately, too often existing controls are overlooked by local councils, and CPTED advocacy bodies are typically impotent when attempting to address the issue.

There are many stakeholders involved in city planning: developers, councils, state governments, engineers, urban planners, landscape designers, and architects among them. While these parties offer valuable expertise in the development of infrastructure, design safety, environmental systems, and financing, they are rarely the end user. It is people and communities who will ultimately determine a city’s success. City planning is transforming from what has traditionally been a ‘problem-solving’ approach to one that is driven by ‘creating for people’. 

In my view we should be asking, ‘what do people desire? Why will they come to this place? What would encourage them to come early or stay late to a park or to a precinct? What would make them dwell, and then stay a little bit longer than they need to be there? And of course, what would make them deter from using this space. A successful human-centred project is therefore not a place visited out of necessity, but out of genuine interest and desire. Whether people just come and go and they are using it as a functional space, or whether they’re actually enjoying being there and they’ll find reasons to stay in a space longer – that’s a measure of success.

Above: CPTED planning can be utilized for residential and business environment.

The newly created 2nd Generation CPTED emphasises four key concepts: social cohesion, community connectivity, community culture and threshold capacity. These critical factors help encourage communities to play an important role as the eyes on the street and care about what they are watching. They go beyond the first-generation principles of surveillance, access control, territorial reinforcement, and space management, however these principles are often sufficient to satisfy current guidelines.  It is important to note to not undermine the standard of security consideration of licensed professionals with approach to crime risk assessments and the value of security considerations.

Social cohesion focuses on creating an environment where there is mutual respect and appreciation of the similarities and differences that make people and groups unique within the community. It is about recognising, supporting, and celebrating community diversity. A cohesive community shares a common vision and a sense of belonging, values diversity, and works to develop positive relationships between people from different backgrounds, in the workplace and the community.

Community connectivity is required to create partnerships with the community. These connections form the basis to coordinate activities and programs with both government and non-government agencies. Well-connected and integrated communities are more empowered and develop a stronger sense of place, Community connections can encourage and sustain self-policing, and discourage, deter crime and deviant behaviour.

Community culture is about residents coming together to share a sense of place and why they may be inclined to display any territoriality. A strong sense of community can galvanise the neighbourhood and encourage positive outlooks and behaviours. It can also promote self-policing. However, this must be balanced by what occasionally results in a dark side of communities in which conformity to a specific culture or group in the community can be purposed to the exclusion and disadvantage of our ethnic or socio-economic groups. The management of the threshold capacity is intended to keep the neighbourhood ecosystem within the levels that promote human scale and pedestrian orientated neighbourhood functioning. The threshold capacity has not been exceeded where the size and density of development does not inadvertently promote anonymity. Any ecosystem that exceeds its carrying capacity is subject to various forms of breakdown and malfunctioning.

Human neighbourhood ecosystems that exceed their carrying capacity result in increased levels of crime. Exceeding the threshold capacity is associated with tipping points, at which the functioning of the neighbourhood changes significantly, typically in problematic crime prevention terms.

Maintenance of a neighbourhood’s appearance has a tipping point when the neighbourhood capacity for maintenance is exceeded with increasing concentrations of abandoned and derelict properties. Levels of poor maintenance and dereliction can attract vandalism and graffiti, reducing the image of the neighbourhood and the benefits of maintenance. The combination is a downward spiral of dereliction and crime.

Another method of 2nd Generation CPTED is engaging with the community to undertake local safety audits of perceived problems. This can be done whilst walking in and around the streets, open spaces and land-uses of the neighbourhood and its communities. Community members should be encouraged to participate in the creation of fear of crime maps.

Extensive community consultation and engagement is an important key factor. The process of engaging with the community fosters a more sense of place and supports CPTED to reduce opportunities.

For practical crimie prevention purposes, social issues are connected to CPTED in two ways. On one hand, by addressing the social issues relating to a CPTED intervention, it is possible to improve the effectiveness of that intervention to reduce crime. On the other hand, reducing crime by CPTED interventions can improve social conditions, build social capital and communities improve quality of life. Together, they offier a tightly-linked virtuous spiral of interventions that boht reduce crime and improve qulaity of life and social capital of communites.

Social factors impact on CPTED since they affect the quality of ‘eyes’ on the street. A key aspect on the socail planning aspect of CPTED focuses on improving the ‘eyes’ on the street, in addition to the ‘street’ itself. What is significant about ‘eyes on the street’ are not the sighlines or even the street, but the eyes. This broadens the scope to incude the prespectie of victims and capable guardians, in some cases the same person. However, eyes on the street are of course necessarily attached to citizens who must be capable and motivated to respond, indiviually or collectively. This is important in the sense of community, and promotes the design and maintenance of functionsing communities to assist in developing and enhancing community pride and well-being.

Below: target harden your home or business by designing out crime.

SafeGrowth Planning

SafeGrowth is a term used to represent a specific type of urban design, focused on human scale-development, social interaction and ecological planning that draws on CPTED ideas.

Fundamentals to SafeGrowth is the establishment of a local neighbourhood safety team. The SafeGrowth development process includes surveying local resident perceptions and building capacity of a neighbourhood to monitor and manage its own problems. Its success has been founded on neighbourhood representatives diagnosing local problems, formulating local priorities and developing strategies and plans to improve the neighbourhood. The SafeGrowth is a new model for building crime resistant and vibrant neighbourhoods in the 21st Century.

The CSI team provide support and guidance with diagnosing neighbourhood problems, data collection, establishing links to patterns and trends, and robust analysis. We offer practical advice on evidence obtained as part of our research and problem tailored solutions. Our key focus: to create safer – livable neighbourhoods, promoting community connectivity and security awareness.