Designing Safer Cities - Review of Environmental Crime Prevention Strategies

Dr. Haimanti Banerji, Alain A.C. Ekka


Crime is influenced by multiplicity of factors such as economic, social and governmental as well as physical elements. Safety and security are basic human needs. In urban India, growth of crime has been on a steady increase and measures to reduce them are proving to be in effective. The cosmopolitan lifestyle, wide roads, state of the art facilities, peaceful and tranquil environment invite people to settle here and the same factors make the area vulnerable to criminal activates. Many incidents of crime go un-reported and unattended due to lack of timely intervention by police. The concept of crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) was first formulated by criminologist C. Ray Jeffery in the year 1971 and got further strengthened by the famous criminologists Timothy D. Crow, C. Ray Jeffery, Architect Oscar Newman, Jane Jacobs and Schlomo Angel. Safety and security within an urban environment primarily depend on (i) Surveillance - will a person committing a crime be seen by anyone, (ii) Access - who can get in and out of a place with ease, (iii) Territoriality - does anyone care for what happens around them i.e. is there a sense of belongings to the space amongst the users. At urban design level building designs, street layouts, public facilities and urban spaces can be tackled to affect the opportunity of crime and fear of crime. The authors however acknowledge some good practices in Indian cities like Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Surat where community involvement and smarter methods of surveillance have changed the urban environment and have made it much safer for the people. This paper paper attempts to identify the parameters that instigate criminal activities within an urban area and highlight the role of crime prevention strategies and the relevance of environmental criminology in current city planning and management practices for addressing security concerns in India cities.


Environmental Criminology, Crime Prevention Strategies, Urban Design

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