Lions Gate Articles

Designing Out Crime

3/10/2016 0 Comments
Crime and fear of crime have a considerable impact on both the life of individuals and their wider community. It is well documented that good planning and design have a major role to play in reducing crime and thus people’s fear of it.

, ​This advice is applicable not only to large scale schemes; the basic principles can and should be applied to most developments. While crime prevention is one of many factors which should be considered in the planning process, it does not always receive the attention required. It should be noted that with careful design an attractive and secure environment can be achieved which also contributes towards good urban design, as well as meeting other legislative requirements (e.g. Fire and Building Codes).

WHAT IS THE AIM OF DESIGNING OUT CRIME?

Crime is the product of many factors. However, research has shown that design is one element that can influence the occurrence of crime – both positively and negatively. The aim of ‘Designing Out Crime’ is to reduce the vulnerability of people and property to crime by removing opportunities that may be provided inadvertently by the built environment. It also aims to reduce fear of crime and, in doing so, helps to improve people’s quality of life.

Designing security into a project does not need to increase costs, and can be more economical in the long term, however it does require some thought and imagination. It is widely acknowledged that the planning system can have a positive impact on tackling crime issues at the design stage. For this reason, it is essential that early discussions bring together the ideas and experience of the developer, the designer, the municipality planning department, a designing out crime consultant and the community take place. Best solutions most often result from a coordinated approach. Including a proactive approach taken at an early stage that incorporates Crime Prevention through Environmental Design, rather than relying on reactive measures such as CCTV, which should only be used as part of a package of measures to reduce crime.

​WHAT IS CRIME PREVENTION THROUGH ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN?

Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) is a crime reduction strategy acknowledging the layout and design of the built environment can create or reduce opportunities for criminal behavior and nuisance. This strategy seeks to create a physical environment conducive to the overall security of the community.

THE PRINCIPLES OF CPTED INCLUDE:

  • Defensible space
  • Improved surveillance
  • Promotion of territoriality
  • Community interaction
  • Environmental balance
  • Circulation management
  • The avoidance of crime generators

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF DESIGNING OUT CRIME?

  • The creation of a safe and secure environment in which to live, work and play.
  • The creation of an environment which reduces the fear of crime.
  • The opportunity to reduce the commercial consequences of crime and nuisance
  • The opportunity to create more effective and aesthetic security solutions
  • To reduce the reliance on first responders in particular law enforcement
  • To enable organizations to comply with their obligations as defined through legislation, regulatory frameworks, and code

LIONS GATE’S TEAM OF DESIGNING OUT CRIME CONSULTANTS

Lions Gate’s team of designing out crime consultants provides risk management advice on developing the built environment in order to reduce opportunities for crime and nuisance. Designing Out Crime at the feasibility and planning stage of the development is an innovation in crime reduction.  Evidence suggests that safety and security features incorporated into the design and layout of the project is effective and offers many benefits to developers and occupiers.

Ideally, this service would be provided by the police, not least because they have access to recorded crime data and can provide a crime profile of the area being developed.  However, this is not always possible as police resources are continually being stretched and some services are being curtailed, or cut back significantly.  In any event, there are alternative means of sourcing crime data, and crime profiling techniques are not the exclusive preserve of law enforcement.

Lions Gate has two police-trained designing out crime consultants who have received training in criminology, risk management, and crime reduction strategies.  They combine to bring over 20 years of experience in the field.  This experience and expertise can be utilized to design out crime from proposed projects at the design stage and also re-development, regeneration and refurbishment projects.

HOW IS THE SERVICE DELIVERED?

Lions Gate’s designing out crime consultants adopt a systematic approach to projects and they provide specific advice during the development process.  The recommendations they provide reflect the level of risk determined by an analysis of local crime trends.  These recommendations will have considered the external environment, building construction, and the internal layout of premises.

We work with CAD Software and can overlay design solutions and comments directly onto to plans and elevations in either 2D or 3D.  These solutions are to remove criminogenic features and design elements that would foster crime and nuisance ,and also to add community safety enhancements.

Under these broad headings the following issues will be explored:

THE BUILDING SHELL

  • Elevational treatment
  • Building orientation
  • Sightlines
  • External recesses
  • Door and window specification
  • Building components
  • Target hardening
  • Security devices

THE INTERNAL ENVIRONMENT

  • Internal layout
  • Access control
  • Reception facilities
  • Circulation management
  • Fire escape security
  • Control and segregation of public and private facilities
  • Security of resources and staff
  • Security devices

EXTERNAL ENVIRONMENT

  • Development layout
  • Definition of public and private space
  • Rights-of-way
  • Road and footpath layout
  • Boundary treatment
  • Design and specification of lighting systems
  • Natural surveillance
  • Access control
  • Parking facilities
  • Security of building services
  • Site maintenance and management

What Developments Are Considered?
Our Designing out crime specialists have consultation experience on a wide variety of projects. The following are typical examples of the project work undertaken, however it should be noted that other projects will also be considered:

​Post newly built and refurbished:

  • Residential, commercial developments
  • Schools and colleges
  • Downtown developments
  • Sports and leisure facilities
  • Transit networks
  • Retail malls and business parks
  • Public service premises
  • Parking lots
  • Hospitals
  • Hotels, restaurants and bars

WHO ARE TYPICAL CLIENTS OF THE DESIGNING OUT CRIME SERVICE?

  • Architects technicians and designers
  • Landscape architects
  • Surveyors and valuers
  • Engineers
  • Planning offices and consultancies
  • Municipality planning departments
  • Strata groups
  • Developers and development agencies
  • Contractors and subcontractors
  • Law enforcement officers and other security consultants
  • Facility managers

IN CONCLUSION
The main principles of designing out crime are based on the notion that most crime is opportunistic. There are two main principles that underlie most measures to design out crime.
By using design measures to increase ‘natural surveillance’ and ‘define ownership of public and private space’, a sense of community can be fostered where potential criminals are made to feel unwelcome.

Finally, and to reiterate, designing security and safety into a project need not increase costs, may add value for vending purposes, and can be more economical in the long term.

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