Defensible Space: Deterring Crime and Building Community

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DIANE Publishing, Jun 1, 1995 - Social Science - 30 pages
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Report by Henry G. Cisneros, Secretary of Housing & Urban Development at the time it was written, on the increasing recognition that physical design of neighborhoods has a role to play in crime reduction. These design approaches, known collectively as defensible space, rely on a bundle of relatively inexpensive techniques that define spaces in a manner that discourages criminal activity, for both individual buildings & whole neighborhoods. Discussions applications of defensible space principles in public housing; street patterns & "broken windows"; defensible space at the neighborhood scale; & exploring the potential for urban neighborhoods & public housing.
 

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Page 28 - T. Hirschi & M. Gottfredson, eds., Understanding Crime (Beverly Hills, CA: Sage, 1980).
Page 15 - ... for a reasonably long period of time. People who live and work in the area feel more vulnerable and begin to withdraw. They become less willing to intervene to maintain public order (for example, to attempt to break up groups of rowdy teens loitering on street corners) or to address physical signs of deterioration. Sensing this, teens and other possible offenders become bolder and intensify their harassment and vandalism. Residents become yet more fearful and withdraw further from community involvement...
Page 29 - See also James Q. Wilson, Thinking About Crime (New York: Basic Books...
Page 5 - ... easily observable by residents, neighbors, and passers-by. It is hard to tell who is, and who is not, an intruder if too many people are entitled to use an outdoor space and no one feels responsible for its legitimate use. Defensibility is also helped by good lighting around possible means of entrance; removal of visual barriers such as high, solid fences and shrubs that create hiding places; and windows with good views of the space in question. Single-family homes, row houses, and duplexes are...
Page 25 - There are many public housing developments where apartments and public spaces have been literally trashed by gang activity and the drug trade. It makes very little sense to spend substantial sums on physical repair and renovation in such housing if it is likely to be vandalized again within a few months. The problems related to criminal behavior must be fixed first, and they must be fixed permanently. I believe the defensible space approach will play an important role in these solutions.
Page 11 - FIG 3: Aerial view of a typical set of private closed streets in St. Louis, Missouri. Street closures by residents have reduced crime and stabilized communities.
Page 3 - Beyond their immediate impacts in crime reduction, they have the promise of making important contributions to longer term, multifaceted strategies aimed at halting the spread of decay in America's cities. In the remainder of this essay, I outline the basic principles of defensible space; show how defensible space has worked in some public housing projects (now often the sites of lawlessness so blatant and devastating as to make the environments of late...
Page 24 - ... something that could sharply and obviously reverse the "broken windows" sequence and motivate residents — collectively and individually to reinvest, maintain, and take other actions to deal with the problems confronting them. It seems to me that defensible space applications, such as the gates and fences of Five Oaks, are just the sort of catalysts needed to make this happen. They are comparatively inexpensive and, if they have...
Page 29 - Oscar Newman, Improving the Viability of Two Dayton Communities: Five Oaks and Dunbar Manor (Great Neck, NY: The Institute for Community Design Analysis, 1992). 21 . The number of "part one...
Page 15 - They become less willing to intervene to maintain public order (for example, to attempt to break up groups of rowdy teens loitering on street corners) or to address physical signs of deterioration. Sensing this, teens and other possible offenders become bolder and intensify their harassment and vandalism. Residents become yet more fearful and withdraw further from community involvement and upkeep. This atmosphere then attracts offenders from outside the area, who sense that it has become a more vulnerable...

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