CPTED Part II

In my previous post on CPTED I displayed a number of screen shots of communities in the City of Winnipeg that showed very low crime rates.  The communities in question benefited from the application of some basic tenets of CPTED, namely, a natural barrier (the river) surrounding the communities as well as limited points of entry and exit.

Those naturally occurring features might prompt the question: what do you do if there is no river or other natural  barrier?

The fact is, that if addressed during the development and building stages of a community, man-made features can be added to replicate features that naturally occur in other communities.  Not only can the features be replicated, so can the results in terms of a reduction in crime.

The pictures below are of a residential areas within the boundaries of the Brockville community in the south-west area of Winnipeg.  As can be seen in the pictures the community has very limited points of entry and exit (two), and a boundary (a fence) surrounding it.

Brockville is another community, or portion of a community, that shows a very low crime rate.  As a matter of fact, according to Crimestat, of the criminal offences tracked by Crimestat this community had no reported crime between January 1 2015 and December 15 2015.

 

 

 

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View of the one entry/exit to the east portion of the development

 

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View of the one entry/exit to the west portion of the development

 

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Border fence along the south edge of the development, facing Sterling Lyon Parkway

 

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Border fence along the west edge of the development running parallel to Brockville Street

 

The gray area  in the screen shot (below) is a representation of the entire Brockville community.  The pie shaped area outlined in black is the Brockville residential development.  The development itself consists of single storey bungalow style townhouses in the east portion, and multi-story apartment style town houses on the west side.

Although not a high-end gated community, the incorporation of just two aspects of the CPTED design philosophy (limited points of entry and a boundary) can have a dramatic effect on crime rates.

 

 

 

Source - Winnipeg Police Crimestat on 2015-12-15

Source – Winnipeg Police Crimestat, Screenshot taken on  2015-12-15

Winnipeg Crime Statistics (2015) by Electoral Ward

The statistics presented in this post are for the 8 crime types tracked by Winnipeg Police Crimestat for the dates  January 1st. 2015 and December 31 2015.

 

The numbers in parenthesis are the number of crimes reported to police  (2015/2014)

 

Old Kildonan  -7%   (384/414)

Point Douglas  -5%  (1009/1059)

St. Charles  -3%    (199/205)

Mynarski   0%   (1056/1061)

Transcona  +2%   (305/298)

St. Boniface  +11%  490/440)

Fort Rouge/East Fort Garry  +8%  (661/611)

Charleswood/Tuxedo  +12%  (217/194)

St. Vital  +20%  (437/364)

St. James/Brooklands/Weston    +21%  (663/548)

Elmwood/East Kildonan  +22%  (610/500)

River Heights/Fort Garry  +23%  (513/418)

Daniel McIntyre  +23%   (1060/862)

North Kildonan  +24%   (299/242)

South Winnipeg/St. Norbert  +31%  (403/307)

 

Observations

Except for the St. Charles ward, which has very little crime to begin with, the three wards that saw decreases or remained the same are all in the north end of the city (District 3).

The Daniel McIntyre ward edged out Mynarski as the ward with the most reported crimes.

The south-west, and south-east portions of the city showed major increases in property related crime.

Crime in Winnipeg up 11%* in 2015


The numbers in this post are  based on the 10 crime types tracked by the City of Winnipeg Crimestat program between January 1 2015 and December 31 2015.  

* The original version of the post represented crime numbers  up until December 28th 2015.  

 

City Wide Highlights

The Good

Murders are down by 19%,  with 22 compared to 27 in 2014.

Attempted theft of motor vehicle is down 10%.

Sexual assaults are down 4%.

The Bad

Theft of motor vehicle is up 3%.

Non-commercial robberies (muggings) are up 3%.

Shootings are up 9%

Break and enter other (stand alone  buildings) are up 10%

The Ugly

Residential break ins are up 19%.

Commercial break ins are up 22%.

Commercial robberies are up 36%.

 

District 1

District 1 saw an overall increase of 15%*.  The  increase can be largely attributed to break ins other (57%), residential break ins (29%),  attempt theft of motor vehicle (17%) and theft of motor vehicle (12%).   Most other categories were static. On a positive note murders dropped by 50% to 7 from 14 in 2014.

District 2

District 2 saw an overall increase of 20%*, led by commercial break ins (51%), commercial robberies (21%), break and enter other (18%), residential break ins (15%), and theft of motor vehicle (17%).

District 3

District 3 was the only district that saw a drop in crime, down 5%*.  Attempt theft of motor vehicle was down (22%), theft of motor vehicle down (19%), break and enter other down (16%), commercial break ins down (14%).  Commercial robberies were up (44%), as were sexual assaults (29%), and residential break ins (14%).

District 4

The increase in District 4 was 16%*.  The biggest factors contributing to the increase were commercial robberies (83%), commercial break ins (50%), residential break ins (20%) and non commercial robberies (10%).

Downtown

The area defined as the ‘Downtown’ saw an increase of 6%.  The offences that pushed the numbers up in the downtown area were primarily break and enter other (143%), and residential break ins (32%).

Observations

  1. Residential break ins were up in all four Districts ranging from 14 to 29%, with a city-wide average increase  of 19%.
  2. The number of stolen vehicles went up in all districts except District 3 which saw a reduction of 19%.
  3. Break and enter other increased in all districts except District 3 which saw a reduction of 16%.
  4. Commercial break ins  went up 22% city-wide but were reduced by 14% in District 3.

Questions

  1.  What, in policing terms, was done differently in District 3 compared to the other three Districts in 2015?
  2.  Were a significant number of personnel assigned to the other three Districts shifted to  District 3?
  3. What steps will the Winnipeg Police Service be taking to address the significant increase in the number of break ins and robberies?

A future post will provide a further breakdown of crime by Electoral Wards, as well as a look at  some specific neighbourhoods.

*Update

The statistics in the original post which covered the period from January 1, 2015 to December 28 2015 have been amended to correspond to what currently appears on the Crimestat site which included the last 3 days of 2015.

The changes made are as follows:

City wide rate changed from +9% to +11%

District 1   from +12% to +15%

District 2 from +18% to +20%

District 3 from -6% to -5%

District 4 from +15% to +16%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you afraid of the Winnipeg Police?

The following is a quote from a recent article by Marc Montgomery:

Critics of the “creeping militarization” say when police appear more and more often in body armour and military clothing, with automatic weapons and armoured vehicle, it creates distance and fear between the population and the forces.

Members of the Winnipeg Police Service wear body armour on a daily basis, carry semi-automatic pistols, have access to an array of weapons and now have an armored vehicle. That begs the question;

 

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design

What is  Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)

In a nutshell Crime prevention through environmental design is a multi-disciplinary approach to deterring criminal behavior through environmental design.  CPTED strategies rely upon the ability to influence offender decisions that precede criminal acts.  As opposed to target hardening which makes it more difficult to commit crimes such as break-ins, CPTED attempts to deter criminals from even picking a target in a particular area.  It is premised on the theory that criminals make rational choices and that if the cost (chance of getting caught) are great enough criminals will not commit the crime.

CPTED is a multi-faceted approach but two of the tactics it employs in relation to neighborhoods are:

  1. minimize the number of entry and exit points on a block; and
  2. design roadways to discourage through-traffic.

Couple those two tactics with a barrier around a neighborhood and you have an excellent recipe for crime prevention.

It is theories, based on CPTED principles,  that led developers to come up with the gated community concept.

What follows are  three examples of naturally occurring crime prevention measures, namely a river surrounding  a community with a limited number of entrances and exits and roadways that discourage and in some cases eliminate through traffic that clearly demonstrate that the design of communities has a lot to do with the prevalence or lack of crime.

All the screenshots in this post were taken from the City of Winnipeg Crimestat website and depict reported crime for the offences reported on Crimestat for the period between January 1, 2015 and December 10, 2015.   The screen shots were taken on December 8th, 2015.

 

This first screen shot shows the Armstrong Point community in downtown Winnipeg which had 3 reported crimes:

 

2015-12-10 (1)

 

 

This screen shots show the West Broadway Community which is immediately adjacent to Armstrong Point.  West Broadway had 114 reported Crimes.

2015-12-10 (4)

 

 

This shot shows the Wildewood Park Community with 4 reported crimes:

2015-12-10 (3)

The adjacent community of Crescent Park reported 34 crimes:

2015-12-10 (5)

 

The  Kingston Crescent Community with 3 reported crimes:

 

2015-12-11

 

Lastly, the Elm Park community adjacent to Kingston Crescent,  24 reported crimes:

 

2015-12-11 (1)

 

I think the screen shots and the number of crimes they depict make the argument.  If you have a barrier, in this case a natural barrier such as a river surrounding a community with limited points of entry and egress and a lack of through traffic, criminals are deterred from committing crimes in those areas.  This is not a fluke.  I have been tracking these communities for years and the results are the same or very similar year after year.

Some small enclaves in newly developed residential areas such as Waverly West embody limited CPTED principles either consciously or by default.  It is unfortunate that CPTED principles are not applied  across the board in new developments.  Neighbourhoods designed and laid out based on CPTED principles would be a boon to the residents living in those neighbourhoods, as well as the Police Service in terms of a dramatic reduction in crime and the resulting calls for  service.  A crime that is prevented requires no followup or investigation.

 

Don’t Like the Gurkha, so sell it.

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I have observed the discussion about the Winnipeg Police purchase of the Gurkha armoured vehicle with both amusement and concern:  Amusement because all the usual suspects, those being sociologists, and the media have  neatly filed into place and have said exactly what they would be expected to say:

1) that this is another step forward in the militarization of the police;

2) that  the process was flawed and lacked public input and transparency;

3) that  the Police Service pulled a fast one on the Police Board;

4) that the operational need for an armoured vehicle has not been justified;

5) that it is too costly.

 

And concern, because the Police Service has done a poor job of providing background information and justification for the purchase.

One might ask the question: Where were all these people who have concerns about militarization and costs  when the Police Service launched its air force?

I agree that in a day and age where Police Boards provide oversight of police departments, the process used to acquire this piece of equipment was perhaps less than politically astute.  The result is that the Police Service has lost the ability to make purchases of this type in the future.

As well, I have yet to hear any really sound arguments being made by the Police Service other than in general terms as to how this piece of equipment will add value.  The Police Service was probably caught flat-footed on this one because they had no intention of this becoming a public discussion at this point in time.  There probably is a communications strategy in the process of being developed to deal with this issue and justify the purchase but I’m surmising it was not intended to be used until some point in the future, so it was not fully developed and ready to go at this point in time.  They should however have anticipated that the purchase of an item such as the Gurhka could not be kept under wraps indefinitely and been better prepared to deal with it when the information became public.

All that being said the question remains, can this purchase be justified as an operational need?

As a former police officer, I am personally aware of discussions for the need of an armoured vehicle that go back 30 years – long before ‘militarization’ had become a buzz word.  The situation that gave rise to the discussions was an armed and barricaded scenario in St. Boniface where a man shot his entire family and then barricaded himself in a house, armed.  Police were faced with a situation where a young child had been shot but was still alive, laying in the front yard with no means to safely perform a rescue.  Since that  incident there have been many others, perhaps not as dramatic but still of a nature where some form of armoured vehicle would have served a very useful purpose.

I would suggest that if the Police Service scratch its collective memory they could provide a long list of scenarios that would justify the need for an armoured vehicle even in the minds of the most jaded opponents.

In terms of cost, although $350,000.00 seems like a big number when amortized over the predicated useful life of such a purchase, it amounts to less than $20,000.00 a year.

Deployment

Although I personally do not support carte blanche  militarization of policing I do support the purchase of military type equipment in situations where the need can be justified for operational reasons.The devil as always  will be in the details.  The manner in which this piece of equipment will be deployed will show the intent of the Police Service and could go a long way to silence the critics.  If it is rolled out willy nilly, however, the police will run the risk of losing public support.  It should be used in situations where its use can be operationally justified.

Political Will

If this is really seen by the Police Board, the Mayor, or City Councillors as an example of the police overstepping their authority and acquiring a piece of equipment that either the police don’t need or that they philosophically disagree with, let them step forward and justify their position and then sell the damn thing (I dare you).  There is a market out there for these types of vehicles.

 

 

Surviving an Active Shooter Situation

 

 

Q  What is an active shooter?

A  The traditional definition of an active shooter makes reference to an individual(s) actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people usually  in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearms and the selection of victims has been largely random.  More recently, terrorists (such as those in the Paris incident) have employed the active shooter strategy to kill and spread  terror in the larger population of persons seen as opposed to their views or philosophy.

The recent killing spree by Syed Farook, 28, and his wife Tashfeen Malik, in San Bernadino California which resulted in 14 people being killed and 21 injured, is at best, an example of an active shooter scenario with terrorist undertones, and at worst, an outright act of  terrorism.

Although Canada, to this point, has been largely spared from these types of incidents, according to Mass Shooting Tracker there have been 336 incidents in 2015 so far in the United States where four or more people were injured by gunfire, many fatally.

It would be naive to think that it cannot and will not happen in Canada at some point.

Active shooter situations offer a unique challenge for police.  In a hostage taking scenario, for example, the passage of time is considered an ally but in the active shooter situation, time becomes the enemy as active shooters strike quickly.  In these types of situations, therefore, many people are killed before police are even alerted.  Quick  response and action must be the hallmark of the police response to these types of devastating incidents.

The problem is that by the time police become engaged in an active shooter incident, in most cases a large number of people have already been murdered.

Active shooter situations are usually resolved or ended only when police neutralize the threat by killing the shooter(s), or  the shooter(s)  commit suicide or in the case of  case of Islamic terrorist, martyr themselves for their cause.

 

The Situation in Canada

Canadian police agencies have undertaken training to deal with  active shooter scenarios but they have limited experience to fall back on.  It is inevitable that at some point an active shooter scenario, possibly terrorist based or motivated, will occur in Canada, regardless of the amount of fairy dust our current government sprinkles on the threat of terrorism in Canada.

If our government persists in not taking the terrorist threat seriously it is incumbent on citizens to be prepared to act individually in order to prepare and protect themselves.

What follows is a list of common sense approaches that can be taken by people caught in an active shooter scenario to attempt to protect themselves and increase the odds of survival.

 

Be vigilant and have a plan

Although it is impossible to accurately anticipate where an active shooter situation might occur, experience has taught us that they usually occur in situations or locations where people congregate: malls, theaters, restaurants, sporting events and the like.  The Paris  terrorist attacks which focused on a rock concert, restaurants, and a football stadium emphasize the point.  The Paris attacks also further demonstrate that active shooters tend to target and are most effective when they select locations where there is little if any security.  In the Paris example the the rock concert and restaurant scenarios resulted in large numbers of deaths while the football stadium which had perimeter security did not.

At a very minimum: be aware of your surroundings; know where the exits are located; be alert to what is happening around you.  Based on past experience we all have a sense of what constitutes normal behavior.  If you see something out of the ordinary go to a heightened level of alert.

In any situation where you could be at risk, know ahead of time what you will do if confronted by an active shooter.  For example, if you are in a mall or another public venue and you hear what sounds like gunshots where there should be no gunshots, do not hang around to see what is happening, wondering what you should do.  Have a plan and be ready to act.

The fight or flight response

1  Once you come to the conclusion that what is happening may be a threat to you, immediately leave the area, heading in the opposite direction from where the threat is.  Don’t rubber neck to see what is happening.  Encourage others around you to leave as well but don’t waste time getting into discussions with people as to whether you should leave.  Just leave, get as far away from the threat as possible, as quickly as possible.  As soon as it is safe to do so, contact 911 and alert the authorities to what is happening.

3  If the threat is between you and your avenue of escape, hide.  Find the most secure place possible such as a room with a door that can be locked.  If you can hide in a room use whatever there is in the room to erect a barricade in front of the door and identify anything within the room that could serve as a weapon in the event the shooter breaches the door.  Stay away from windows and turn out the lights.  Turn off your cell phone.  The last thing you want is a phone going off to attract attention to your location.

4  If no rooms are available, improvise, hide in a closet.  As a last resort if there is no physical place to hide, take cover – that is, put something between your self and the shooter that will provide some level of protection.  If no cover is available try to conceal yourself so that the shooter cannot see you.

3  Lastly, if fleeing or hiding are not options be prepared to fight  back.  Don’t take unnecessary risks but if you are caught in a situation where there is a high likelihood you will be shot if you do nothing, then act.  Any action you are able to take to injure or incapacitate the shooter increases your odds as wells as those of others.  Although taking on a shooter with a gun may be out of character for you, it may save your life.  If you take that step, then act quickly and act violently.

 

Good information sources

United Sates Department of Homeland Security   

The Art of Manliness