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Crime?

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,173
Points
51
In my quest for further knowledge, I have been thinking about other communities, smart growth, the creative class, and cities with higher density. Parts of the City of Kalamazoo have bad crime, and the City of Reading PA has extremely bad crime. In Reading’s case it is a shame because the city has some amazing architecture, and the bad part of Kalamazoo could be turned into an amazing community. I am just wondering if anyone has done any plans that would have a significant impact on reducing crime?
 

Wannaplan?

Bounty Hunter
Messages
3,213
Points
29
Aren't crime rates related to levels of unemployment? If so, then any plan that addresses economic development probably falls under the banner of your question.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
i would say that crime levels are closely related to poverty - although crime manifests itself differently in different communities - having a job doesn't preclude one from being impoverished.
 

passdoubt

Cyburbian
Messages
407
Points
13
In Reading's case I think that the brutally widespread acceptance of racism and segregation are related. Bonnie Jouhari anyone?
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
mike gurnee said:
poverty=high crime=cop out
well, i for one didn't say that crime was caused by poverty levels.
Just that there is a direct correlation on a macro level. Lay an economic chart on top of a crime statistics chart and crime follows about a year behind.

it's fine if you want to deny it - just back it up.
 

JNL

Cyburbian
Messages
2,449
Points
25
Mike - my city has a comprehensive Safe City Programme that has been underway for a few years now, with some impressive results. We have people coming from other cities around the country to study what Wellington has done. I have requested some more information about it, and I have a booklet that summarises all their initiatives - could photocopy and send?

Also, check out http://www.gosnells.wa.gov.au/scripts/viewoverview_contact.asp?NID=468&Thm=6 - an Australian city that has done some work with crime mapping and then addressing crime hot spots.

I have many, many links saved to city plans for improving community safety and reducing crime....from NZ, Australia (who are pretty good at this sort of thing), England, the US and Canada... maybe PM with some specifics you're interested in and I can sift through them.

You might also like to look at Rem's council's Community Safety Action Plan
 

ChevyChaseDC

Cyburbian
Messages
190
Points
7
Which parts of Kalamazoo are you referring to? I don't know all the neighborhood names, but I assume you're talking about the "north side" in the areas along N. Westnedge and N. Park, as well as the "east side" areas east of Portage St., out to Hayes Park?

I lived up near Oakland Drive, just around the corner from Oakwood Plaza. The contrast between the more upscale neighborhoods north and east of Whites Road/Parkview and the working class, somewhat decrepit streets of Oakwood are stark, but it always felt perfectly safe around there.
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,173
Points
51
ChevyChaseDC said:
Which parts of Kalamazoo are you referring to? I don't know all the neighborhood names, but I assume you're talking about the "north side" in the areas along N. Westnedge and N. Park, as well as the "east side" areas east of Portage St., out to Hayes Park?
N. Westnedge, aka (The North Side). I had friends that lived up there, and they had a car stollen, break ins, and that was on a good week.

How long ago were you here? Alot has changed in the past few years from what I hear of. It is much safer in downtown.
 

PlannerByDay

Cyburbian
Messages
1,827
Points
24
michaelskis said:
N. Westnedge, aka (The North Side). I had friends that lived up there, and they had a car stollen, break ins, and that was on a good week.

How long ago were you here? Alot has changed in the past few years from what I hear of. It is much safer in downtown.
From what I know about Kalamazoo, ChevyChaseDC has it about right, although some areas of the Hayes Park (aka Edison neighborhood) neighborhood are alright. The Northside, UM if you get off the main drag onto some of the side streets it gets kinda rough.

In getting back to Micaelskis org. question, I'm not familiar with any "Plans" to reduce crime in my hometown. Although if homeowners, landlords and other property owners were familiar with CPTED concepts some crime may be reduced.

Crime however I think gets its roots from poor education, lack of jobs, and households situations where Crack, Meth, prostitution and other "evils" exist. It is unfortionate that it perpetuate(sp) itself. Children are exposed to this and think is it the only way of life. I hate to sound like an A$$ here but if you eliminated the "Bad Seed households" over time crime will be reduced.
 

cololi

Cyburbian
Messages
1,185
Points
22
My community has some very unofficial programs relating to reducing crime. We analyze crime statistics, ordinance violations, infrastructure quality, etc. to map areas of our city that need special attention. Once we identify the areas, we organize neighborhood clean ups, beef up ordinance enforcement and police patrols, organize neighborhood watch programs, etc. We also do things like install or repair damaged sidewalks, street signs, and other infrastructure.

As far as planning, we are in the beginning phases of planning a linear park that will be located on a 50 foot wide park strip. The park strip basically is a dumping ground for junk vehicles, garbage, etc and the neighboring property owners show no interest in maintaining it. The park strip is not part of the public right of way, but the sidewalk is 45 feet from the street and lcoated on an easement. We are in the process of negotiating with property owners to convey the land over to the city, and in exchange we will improve it and maintain it.

The overall goal is to increase the sense of ownership for the residents. In our community, we find that the neighborhoods with high crime are very isolated, and only have one or two entrance points to the neighborhood, so there aren't a lot of "eyes on the street", especially in the middle of the night.

This is an approach that has been installed for about 6 months. So far, we fee lit has been successful. We have repaired about 60 trip hazards in the sidewalk, cleaned up about 20 properties, reduced inviting targets to car prowls by educating residents to keep their porch light on, storing things like tools in garages or sheds, removing attractive nuisance's (oxymoron) like junk cars, etc. We also had a neighborhood block party that was attended by about 150 people. We now get a lot more calls from residents of the neighborhood when they see suspicious activities, or a burned out street light, etc.
 

JNL

Cyburbian
Messages
2,449
Points
25
cololi said:
My community has some very unofficial programs relating to reducing crime.
This work sounds great :) How are you tracking the results/measuring its effectiveness? Where can I find out more?
 

JNL

Cyburbian
Messages
2,449
Points
25
JNA said:
In my fair city, our newspaper The Courier & Press publishes a crime map each Saturday.
http://web.myinky.com/crime/033004crimemap.jpg
but no analysis or log.
Now what is the point of that, if nothing proactive is being done to rectify problem areas? Is it in conjunction with prevention measures? Otherwise, it would seem to be a scaremongering tactic - ie 'keep away from this street and this one after dark because people get raped and kidnapped there'.

It's good that this information is being collected, but what is being done with it?

I had another rant last week in a similar thread :-$
 

cololi

Cyburbian
Messages
1,185
Points
22
Like I said, this is very unofficial. I sat down with out Mayor one day to discuss the downhill trend ofa couple of neighborhoods and what we could do to reverse that trend. We threw out some ideas and I ran with it. It has taken a lot of coordination with other departments and agencies, but once we got everyone on the same page, things started to happen.

Like I said, we have only been doing it for 6 months, so we don't fully know how it will turn out. We analyze crime stats on a monthly, quarterly, yearly basis so we havea good idea of a increase in crime over the last ten years. So far, we have had a decrease in crime the last two months and are hoping that it will continue to decline over the summer months. We anticipate it will be several years before we see a city wide decrease, but expect the decrease in the target neighborhoods to happen this summer. The march numbers should be in by the end of next week, but the Sheriff deputies are telling me that they saw fewer calls in march than they have ever seen in that particular area.

Our believe follows many of the CPTED philosophies, although I am not too familiar with them. One interesting element of CPTED is that they feel that limited access to a neighborhood reduces crime (maybe I misread this statement, but this is my recollection). In our community, the neighborhoods with the highest crime rate's only have 1 or 2 entrances and are typically cut off from the surrounding neighborhoods by major roads, canals, etc. The biggest planning effort involved icludes changing the subdivsion ordinance to require stub streets to future subdivisions and eliminating double frontage lots. We also created a street lighting plan to place street lights in areas where they were missing or insufficient. New developemnts have to meet the minimum street lighting requirements (one for every 250 feet).
 

JNL

Cyburbian
Messages
2,449
Points
25
cololi, I asked where I could find out more because it sounds like you are making some good progress with a holistic approach, and there is a lack of literature on evaluations of such intiatives. I would strongly encourage you to write up something for submission to a journal or maybe even a website, and it seems to me you've got a few paragraphs here already :)

Re closed neighbourhoods - you need to check the thread 'Defensible space' (if you haven't already) - evidence points to opposite, ie closed subdivisions and streets are not good. Though there is still a lot of debate about this.

I am happy to share CPTED resources if you like - I am no expert but I read widely about CPTED and there's always more to learn :)

On a side note, I've just finished writing a proposal to develop NZ guidelines for street lighting for safe and attractive pedestrian areas. This will include a review of international policy and practice in lighting for pedestrians and I would love to get input from some fellow Cyburbians (assuming the project gets funding :-\ ). We already have lighting standards, but we are looking to provide guidance when councils want to go above minimum standards and be creative in applying best practice principles. How did you assess where lighting was insufficient, and how do you track where lights are missing?
 

Doitnow

Cyburbian
Messages
496
Points
16
Doing a crime analysis would result in some interesting results I think. Also overlaying that crime type and location layer on the city plan would give a better insight and maybe show some conclusive trend.

What kind of crimes and how many of them may vary from city to city.
About a decade ago in large Indian cities like New Delhi apart from vendetta murders there was a trend of old couple being killed on a regular basis by domestic helps.
Just trying to point that there may be economic reasons at the core but slowly as even the criminals have more and more money intheir pockets they tend to shift their line of activity.
In the past couple of years in teh same city of New Delhi the crimes against woemn have increased rapidly and are becoming more and more blatant. I dont think that lack of employment or poverty would be the prime reason for the this misconduct. many times the very rich young commit heinous crimes and get away with it.

Just adding my perspective to the thread...
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
i'm curious to hear what people consider crime.

here, if it's not breaking and entering and it's not violent then it's not "crime".
People are surprised if something they left out on the street the night before is still there in the morning.

A lot of our garbage is even gone before the garbage truck comes by in the morning.
 

Doitnow

Cyburbian
Messages
496
Points
16
There are degrees of crime.All crimes are bad some are very bad and some, very very bad.

I think I speak like a law maker and not a law enforcer.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
i'm just saying that in a city where mobsters get knocked off in front of $1million townhomes people have different ideas of what a safe neighborhood is.

I tell people all of the time that South Philly is Brooklyn meets West Virginia. If you're not involved in the drug trade (buying or selling) and you don't have violent family members or friends the chances of you getting into trouble or even caught in the crossfire are minimal.

Checking the blotter of what's going on in South Philly http://www.southphillyreview.com/view_article.php?id=1863
 

boilerplater

Cyburbian
Messages
916
Points
21
Best description of South Philly yet!

South Philly is Brooklyn meets West Virginia.
That's hilarius! This friend of mine has relatives who have been in south Philly all their lives, and he's convinced they're inbred. The dumbest mobsters hail from there. Remember that one who tried to get payoffs from the Rouse corporation when they were building the Liberty Place buildings?

So what about the "emotional intelligence" factor in crime prevention? The side of personality that allows an individual to see potential negative outcomes to an action, to experience empathy, etc.

How about the psychological barriers that send messages about what kind of behaviour is appropriate in a neighborhood? For example, I've read about studies that found an increase in crime soon after regular litter cleanup is suspended. The Guiliani administration made a big difference in NYC by addressing petty crimes like littering and graffitti, which had the effect of reducing more serious crimes. A lot of people griped that the methods were fascistic, but NYC is a much safer place today for it.
 

JNL

Cyburbian
Messages
2,449
Points
25
boilerplater said:
How about the psychological barriers that send messages about what kind of behaviour is appropriate in a neighborhood? For example, I've read about studies that found an increase in crime soon after regular litter cleanup is suspended.
This can be a very successful tool for improving community safety. Things like regular litter pickup, prompt repair and replacement of signs, lightbulbs etc demonstrate that an area is being looked after because somebody cares about it. If someone/ some people care about it, there is a sense of ownership of the space. Also, there is an underlying message that if needed maintenance is quickly detected, then someone is keeping an eye on things :5 All these things contribute to deterring criminal acts. They won't prevent crime entirely, but they will reduce the likelihood of crime occurring in comparison to unkempt, uncared for spaces. Look where graffiti is and it's often on walls that don't seem to belong to anyone in particular.


Re emotional intelligence - one of my Criminology lecturers was involved in piloting 'family group conferences' which would bring together: a youth convicted of a crime, their family and/or community support network, and their victim (if the victim agreed to this). Some form of [can't remember the word that means repayment/making up for wrong done??] will be agreed to by all parties and the youth's support network are supposed to ensure they follow through. It was quite interesting! The program has had some success and has been copied in other countries.
 

B'lieve

Cyburbian
Messages
219
Points
9
[QUOTE by JNL]Some form of [can't remember the word that means repayment/making up for wrong done??] [/QUOTE]

Restitution?
 

JNL

Cyburbian
Messages
2,449
Points
25
B'lieve said:
[QUOTE by JNL]Some form of [can't remember the word that means repayment/making up for wrong done??]
Restitution?[/QUOTE]

Yep that's it, thanks :)
 

Doitnow

Cyburbian
Messages
496
Points
16
Crime in General in Urban Areas

The only city where gangland wars result in shootouts in broad daylight in India is Mumbai( the financial capital of the country). Even these have reduced because of the integrated efforts of the police and the politicians.
An exception is a small coastal town in western India by the name 'Porbandar' which has one of the highest gangland crime rates in the country. That town incidentally is the birthplace of Gandhi. :-#

But news of gang wars in smaller cities like where I live in( Hyderabad is the fifth largest city in India), keep trickling in.
Murders, because of control of territory of cable distribution networks are a common feature nowadays. But rarely does a common citizen assualted. The only affect on the populace is the sheer fact that such things are still happening in modern cities( which we call as civilised).

One incident which happened some months ago was when one of the operators' operatives chased and killed a rival right in front of the State Tourism Corporation Office( incidentally headed by a very senior police officer).

Gangland wars and crimes related are organised and like a business. If required they can be controlled.But

1.What worries me more is the other crimes where non professionals indulge in murder, rapre, arson, kidnappin, extortion. Crime is becoming another profession for easy money but not without the risks.
These are criminals who have nothing else to do or maybe havebeen driven to desperation by unfortunate circumstances.
2. The other kind of criminals( non professionals) are those who are mentally sick. Whose responsibility are they?
3. What about financial scams/scandals where common people are swindled of their hard earned life long savings. Thanks to the outsourcing boom, financial frauds related to data entry and data conversion have increased.
4. What about land scams. Mostly aided by local mafia nd political groups many land developers sell plots/lots illegally to hundreds of unaware citizens in the suburbs and then wash their hands off.

Arent we talking about a very multifaceted issue here?

Yes we are!
 
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