If Boston proves anything it proves we need more CCTV, right? Yet police, CCTV, and the community working together caught the terrorists, not CCTV alone. We presume CCTV will cut crime and make things better. Crime might drop (which is good), but things don’t always get better.
The CPTED 3-D method (I don't teach it) states the design of a place should reinforce its designated use so that "illegitimate" users are kept at bay. Yet Jane Jacobs wrote that, if given the chance, people make spaces work in their own unique ways. That is what makes them safe.
Similar questions were posed a decade ago in Keith Hayward’s "Space, the final frontier: Criminology, the city and the spatial dynamics of exclusion."
SPACE: THE FINAL FRONTIER
Hayward threw down the gauntlet to the Criminology of Place crowd- situational crime prevention, environmental criminology and by association (not mine), CPTED.
Unfortunately Hayward wrote in the gibberish of post-structural"Foucauldian" prose, an academic fad popular among a small group of academics in the UK and Canada. Tragically it delivers little to those preventing crime except unreadable text. That's a shame because Hayward has a brilliant mind with important things to say.
He attacked theories of the then-emerging community of crime analysts and crime mappers. Today crime analysts populate every major police department. They desperately need this message.
One part of that message: Spatial patterns - robbery hotspots, burglary densities, crime displacements - miss the point. More accurately, they are such a small part of the point that they distract attention away from the keys to prevention - causes behind criminal behavior.
SECOND GENERATION CPTED
Hayward's corrective is theoretical: link the individual experience of victims, offenders, and other citizens with the urban, social and cultural facts that create conditions for crime.
I think it is simpler. It’s the corrective Gerry Cleveland and I offered a decade earlier in Second Generation CPTED. Blogs on descriptive symbols and articles on Second Generation CPTED spell this out in detail.
Here are some starting places:
- Crime analysts should create a picture of crime motives in each neighborhood and link that to groups who might mitigate those motives. Otherwise they should stop calling themselves crime analysts and instead call themselves Imosprs – Incident-Mappers-of-Selected-Police-Records!
- Traditionalists tell me that community "culture" strategies in CPTED are beside the point. They say cutting the opportunity is the thing. They are wrong! Both are essential…concurrently!
A friend of mine likes to quote T.S. Eliot: "We had the experience but missed the meaning." Let’s not miss the meaning of Boston.