Architecture and Its Cumulative Effect on Crime Statistics Considered

Not long ago, I was talking to a retired police officer and a criminologist professor. He told me that he had just completed giving a lecture on architecture and the cumulative effects of crime statistics. You see, I have previously written about lighting at QSRs or quick service restaurants (fast food locations) and the importance of lighting, trash control, and closed-circuit TV cameras. It's amazing how much a little crime prevention can do. Likewise, architecture is extremely important. Okay so let's talk shall we?

One thing that I had discussed with him was the importance of lighting at C-Stores (convenience stores) and the need to eliminate shadow areas, or places that criminals could hide behind and therefore come out of the shadows or pull someone into the shadows to commit a crime. Of course, there's also a false sense of security and a reality behind all this because even if there is good lighting and people feel safe, that doesn't mean a criminal won't mosey on up to see what's happening, and then commit a crime.

There were three main topics of our conversation that I would like to discuss with you, and they can be broken down into these categories;

Housing Projects
Low Income Housing
Crime Triangle Challenges

What many cities don't understand is that when they put in low income housing they put quite a few people in a very small area. Therefore the population density is increased, and therefore potential victims have also increased. Along with this, low income housing also attracts those who might also be criminals, or don't have a job, and get by, by taking what they need. My acquaintance also reiterated the realities of the crime triangle.

A crime triangle is like a fire triangle. In the fire triangle you need heat, fuel, and oxygen to complete the triangle. If you have all that you have a fire hazard. For the crime triangle you need a victim, a perpetrator, and a location. If you have a place with lots of victims or potential victims then you have to work on the other side of the crime triangle to prevent crime. For instance in the New York Subway you have lots of people, therefore lots of possible victims, so you have to work on mitigating the challenges with criminals which come onto the scene, and work on your location.

The same thing is true in low income housing projects were you have dark stairwells, and areas where people could be cornered and then taken advantage of; robbed, mugged, raped, or beaten. This is why architects and designers must take into consideration the need for lighting, removing shadows, and opening things up without blind corners or areas that could pose a challenge for potential victims. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

Lance Winslow has launched a new provocative series of eBooks on Police Tech Concepts. Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank;

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