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Thread: Crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) and public housing

  1. #1
    Cyburbian inzane's avatar
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    Crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) and public housing

    In my community we have five (5) low income housing projects that have asked to be granted a variance from our trash enclosure standards (I guess they want trash blowing everywhere). The reason they claim they want the variance is because some one can hide in or behind them. They also claim that they are using CPTED principals throughout all of their complexes. Their future “CPTED” methods include cutting down all trees and bushes (violating our landscape ordinance) and placing very large (in my opinion) spot lights that would violate our lighting standards (in foot candles). To compound the problem a few of our officers (not the department) has recommended these changes and supported them in writing (Boneheads!!!!!). I have studied CPTED and I know that its principals can coexist with proper urban design. Has any one else ran into a problem like this? And can anyone point me to some built examples or some literature that addresses CPTED and public housing. I don’t want people to look outside and feel like they live a prison yard. Help.
    “I injured a rock… Hospitalized a brick… I’m so bad I make medicine Sick!!!!”
    Muhammad Ali

  2. #2
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    I do not see the statutory findings necessary for a zoning variance.

  3. #3
    They may be calling this a fancy name, but it'sstateof the art design circa 1955. Housing authorities and HUD have come a long way since then. Hold your ground!

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Richi's avatar
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    Such brutal "design" yield brutal people.l Force people to live in a non-human manner and they will act accordingly. I would hate to live in a place designed bythe police and fire chief.

    Housing authorities and HUD have come a long way since then. Hold your ground!

    Gotta got it right! Lets see if we can reduce peoples anger, tension, dispair and improve civic attitudes, not concentrate on being able to catch them quickly when they act out.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Have you ever lived in a housing project?? I grew up across the street from one of the biggest in Detroit. There are very serious social issues in such places. Crackheads will hide in dumpster enclosures and jump you for just a few bucks. The dumpster is chuck-full of stuff they can use as a weapon and bludgeon you badly.

    Those that do have cars will find their cars getting broken into constantly at night, even though these folks are smart enough not to leave anything in those cars worth stealing, but that won't stop a criminal under the cover of darkness from messing up their vehicle, causing several hundred dollars worth of repairs (note that folks in housing projects can barely scape together enough to keep these cars running, no less fix the foolish stuff that the criminals break. The lighting is needed to illuminate the insides of the vehicles so that the criminal element will not be tempted to bust a window.

    I am not seeing anyone here offering any sort of alternatives. Heck I'd suggest building the dumpster enclosures out of some type of see-through plastic in order to get around such an ordinance.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  6. #6
    I live two blocks from a 1950s era housing project containing 500 units, some in walkups some in elevator buildings (for families!). I have to walk by it at night as I come home from teaching. They addressed crime by carefully targetting the lighting, spending a lot on landscaping, allowing small yards around some of the entries, patrolling the parking lots and not tolerating people to hang out in them, careful siting of the play areas at the periphery of the project. Its not heaven, but its a lot better looking than the old days when there was asphalt up to the doors and that ghastly yellow lighting. Crime is way down now. You now see children playing outside, something that never happened in the old exterior environment.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    A couple samples of good CPTED I've seen:
    The downtown Phoenix library uses a steel mesh to surround the trash and utilties. It's enough mesh to see through when you're close, but from a distance you won't see as much.

    ASU has a policy to trim trees and bushes to prevent crime. Tree canopies are trimmed at about 6-7' and bushes kept to 2-3' high. It allows easy sight of people.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian inzane's avatar
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    dvdneal. Could you post a picture of the mesh screening?
    “I injured a rock… Hospitalized a brick… I’m so bad I make medicine Sick!!!!”
    Muhammad Ali

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