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.

 

1 866-840-5837

waste abuse fraud

A very significant number that Winnipeg 311 is still not aware of

Yesterday I wrote a post about a couple of witnesses that apparently have come forward (according to media reports), to police with information about possible corruption at City Hall, the Civic Service or both.

That  post prompted one of my readers to send me an email about an incident involving the City that he felt was inappropriate  in terms of the bidding process.  In his mind it was at the very least wasteful.  This prompted him to ask the question:

“Who do I tell ???? Not like there is anyone willing to listen.”

That brought to mind a previous post I wrote about the City of Winnipeg Fraud and Waste Hotline.

Thinking that the Fraud and Waste Hotline might be a good point of contact for my reader I called Winnipeg 311 and asked for the phone number for the City of Winnipeg Fraud and Waste Hotline.  The long and the short of this inquiry was that the result I got was the same as that obtained by the Free Press when they made the same inquiry in September of this year.  311 was not aware of the existence of such a hotline and as a consequence did not have the phone number.

What should one conclude from the fact that even after the Free Press made the same inquiry some 3 months ago and exposed the fact that 311 did not have available vital information that the public is entitled to and that after the passage of three months no steps have been taken to address that issue?  I suppose there are a number of inferences that could be drawn.  The first is that 311 supervisors and managerial staff are either incompetent or don’t care.  Surely if they were competent or cared they would have taken some action after the embarrassment caused by the aforementioned Free Press article.  The second inference is that 311 staff and management do care and want to do the right thing (which is the sense I got when I called them today) but are being stifled or muzzled by the administration in terms of the information they have available to them and that they are allowed to give out to the public.  This second scenario, were it the case, would be of greater concern than the first.

No wonder the uptake by civic employees and members of the public has been so low in terms of calls to the hotline.  Most don’t know about its existence and those that do are not familiar with the contact information.

People cannot call a hotline when the very existence of such a hotline is suppressed and the contact information is not available to civic employees or the public.

I urge everyone to contact our new mayor and their respective members of council and ask them to do the right thing.  If we are serious about fraud and waste at City Hall there needs to be both an internal and external education program in terms of what constitutes fraud and waste.  As well, the process to bring such information forward must be clearly outlined and the contact information must be readily available.

So let’s start down that road.  The City of Winnipeg has entered into an agreement with a company call Clearview Connects, a third party confidential reporting service that will receive and document  information about possible fraud or waste as it relates to the City of Winnipeg.  Reports can be made both through the internet at Clearview Connects or via telephone.  The telephone numbers are:

Civic Employees                     1 877-319-5186

Members of the Public          1 866-840-5837

 

 

January 2012 Crime Data

January 2012 Crime Statistics for Winnipeg  (for crimes tracked by Crimestat)

Crime Type Year-to-Date Comparison Selected Filter Comparison
Jan 1, 2012
To
Feb 4, 2012
Jan 1, 2011
To
Feb 4, 2011
% Change Jan 1, 2012
To
Jan 31, 2012
Jan 1, 2011
To
Jan 31, 2011
% Change
 Break & Enters – Commercial
85 63 35% 79 51 55%
 Break & Enters – Other
83 62 34% 81 61 33%
 Break & Enters – Residential
186 188 -1% 167 155 8%
 Homicide
1 3 -67% 1 3 -67%
 Robbery – Commercial/Financial
22 39 -44% 19 38 -50%
 Robbery – Non-Commercial/Financial
131 110 19% 122 97 26%
 Sexual Assault
11 18 -39% 10 18 -44%
 Shooting
6 2 200% 6 2 200%
 Theft Motor Vehicle – Actual
85 161 -47% 72 144 -50%
 Theft Motor Vehicle – Attempt Only
49 129 -62% 46 114 -60%
Total 659 775 -15% 603 683 -12%

Source:  Winnipeg Police Crimestat Website

Highlights

1.  City wide crime (for crimes tracked by Crimest) is down 12%.  Districts 2, 3 and the East District  show reductions, Districts 1 and 6 show increases.

2.  The Auto Theft Strategy (perhaps the only true evidence based initiative the WPS is using) continues to show impressive results in terms of crime reduction.

3.  When the auto theft category (actual and attempt)  is removed,  crime (for crimes tracked by Crimestat) is up 14% city-wide.

2.  Muggings are up 26%.

3.  Commercial robberies are down 50%.

4.  All three categories of break-ins are up between 8 and 55%.

The 2011 Holiday Check Stop Program

Are Police providing an accurate interpretation?  
When I read the headline “Peggers choosing safety and sobriety, police say“,  I thought to myself, that is good news.  The article went on to say, “Winnipeggers appear to be getting the message about drinking and driving, the Winnipeg Police Service said Monday, after releasing the numbers from its 2011 festive-season Check Stop campaign.”
Lets have a look at those numbers and see if there is a reason to rejoice.
Table 1  compares the 2010 Check Stop numbers to those of 2011:
Table 1

2010

2011

Vehicles stopped

2470

1900

Drivers Charged

98

57

Percentage of Drivers Charged

4%

3%

This is good, yes?   Well it is and it isn’t.   Of all the drivers stopped in 2010, 4% were charged.  That number went down by 1 % to 3% in 2011.    The real issue is, why is it that with substantial increases in resources in 2011, only 1,900 drivers were stopped in 2011?  I suggest it’s a matter of priorities.  Stopping 2,470 drivers as was done in 2010 would have required more resources – resources the Winnipeg Police Service was not prepared to dedicate to this cause.

With a charge rate of 3% of all drivers stopped, had the police stopped 2470 drivers in 2011 as they did in 2010 the number of drivers charged  would have been in the range of 74.  That’s 17 more impaired drivers off the road during a very short span of time.

To get a more complete picture of impaired driving trend one needs to examine the issue over a period of years, not just a period of weeks.

Table 2 depicts the data between 2000 and 2010 for impaired driving and refusal to provide a breath sample for Winnipeg.  The table highlights the following:

1.  The number of drivers who refuse to provide a sample of their breath has decreased dramatically since 2000;

2.  There was a significant decrease in the number of impaired drivers arrested from 2000 to 2006;

3.  The arrest numbers were essentially static in 2007 and 2008;

4.  In both 2009 and 2010 impaired driving arrest numbers rose 11%.

Table 2

Refusals

Impaired

Total

Change +/-  *

2000

178

1080

1258

2001

59

957

1016

-21%

2002

40

761

801

-21%

2003

37

729

766

-4%

2004

42

679

721

-6%

2005

11

565

576

-20%

2006

9

470

479

-17%

2007

9

476

485

+1%

2008

14

462

476

-2%

2009

1

526

527

+11%

2010**

8

577

585

+11%

Data obtained from 2000-2010 Winnipeg Police Annual Reports
* percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number
** The 2010 numbers shown are based on the 2010 Annual Report which has been withdrawn and will be reissued.
Before being able to say with any certainty that Winnipeggers are getting the message about drinking and driving, we need first to see a reversal of the upward trend in 2009 and 2010.  The limited data from the most recent Check Stop program does not warrant such a conclusion.
When the Winnipeg Police Service releases its 2011 Annual Report (hopefully before December 28th,  2012) we will have a better idea as to whether  Winnipeggers are indeed getting the message.  If the upward trend experienced in 2009 and 2010 continues, then obviously the claim by the Winnipeg Police Service is not supported by the evidence.

Alcolaser

The Alcolaser is a laser device developed in Russia which is able to detect alcohol in vehicles as they pass by the device.

The device which has been dubbed “BOUTON” (flower bud) was displayed at the International Exhibition of Police and Military equipment in Moscow in October.

The manufacturer claims that the device is capable of detecting  low levels of alcohol (ethanol) in vehicles passing by the device  at  speeds of  up to 150  km per hour,  works in all weather conditions and requires no complex maintenance.

The device is capable of scanning the cab of a vehicle in o.1 seconds from a distance of 25 meters.  Coupled with a plate reader it can capture the license plate of the vehicle in question which can then be transmitted by  Wi-Fi signal to police at another location.  Police can then stop the vehicle and perform further tests to determine if the driver is in fact impaired.

Impaired driving is a big problem in Russia.  In 2010 Russia experienced 11,000 accidents that involved impaired drivers.

The manufacturer and Russian police will be conducting  further tests on the device next year and it is anticipated that it will be deployed in Russia in 2012 or 2013.

The science behind the approach is not new.  At least one American company started working on a similar device in 1995 but as of now I am not aware of any similar product available on the North American Market.

At this time there is no indication as to the cost of the device.

Weekend Crime in the Daniel McIntyre Ward not Spillover

The City of Winnipeg is divided into 15 Electoral Wards – each represented by a city councillor.

Councillor Harvey Smith who represents the Daniel McIntyre Ward is quoted in today’s Free Press as saying the crime wave in Winnipeg this weekend spilled over into his constituency.  The Daniel McIntyre Ward which is situated within the boundaries of Police District 1 (the downtown district) is one of the smallest wards geographically but is surpassed only by the Mynarski Ward in terms of the numbers of crimes tracked by Crimestat.

The following table breaks down reported crime by electoral ward for the period from January 1st 2010 to October 29th  2011.

Ward Councillor Jan 1-Oct 29 2011 Jan 1 –Oct 29 2010 % change
Mynarski Ross Eadie 1162 1538 -24
Daniel McIntyre Harvey Smith 1137 1141 0
Point Douglas Mike Pagtakhan 951 1139 -17
Fort Rouge-Fort Garry Jenny Gerbasi 759 876 -13
St. James-Brooklands Scott Fielding 605 779 -22
Elmwood-East Kildonan Thomas Steen 597 876 -13
River Heights-Fort  Garry John  Orlikow 444 599 -26
St. Boniface Daniel Vandal 406 533 -22
St. Vital Vacant 316 537 -37
Old Kildonan Devi Sharma 269 443 -39
Transcona Russ Wyatt 256 249 +3
St. Charles Grant Nordman 249 244 +2
North Kildonan Jeff Browaty 243 368 -34
St. Norbert Justin Swandel 237 377 -37
Charleswood-Tuxedo Paula Havixbeck 167 207 -19

(source:  Winnipeg Police Crimestat)

The Daniel McIntyre Ward is one of only three wards that has not seen crime go down so far this year. One could argue that crime is not spilling into the Daniel McIntyre ward from adjoining wards but rather that crime is spilling out into adjacent wards.

Below is a crime map which depicts crimes in Daniel McIntyre Ward between Jan 1st. 2011 and Oct 29th 2011.

News flash for Councillor Smith:  What happened in Daniel McIntyre Ward this past weekend cannot be explained away as ‘spillover’.  To do so is to turn a blind eye to the realities of the crime problem that has existed in the Daniel McIntyre ward for some time now.  Nothing new here, Councillor Smith.

Foot Patrols Part III – The Pre-Community Policing Era

In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Winnipeg was at the very cutting edge of what later came to be known as Community Policing.  It was dubbed Operation Affirmative Action  (OAA).

OAA incorporated many of the principles and values first proposed by Sir Robert Peel when the London Metropolitan Police Force was formed in 1829.  OAA was an approach to policing that recognized the importance of forming partnerships between the police and the community at the local level.  Hence it was structured on a geographical basis.  It was an early  form of Zone Policing that was later popularized by many Canadian and American cities under the banner of ‘Community Policing’.

The main tenets of OAA were:

  • permanent long-term assignment of  patrol unit and beat personnel to specific geographical areas;
  • the use of problem solving as opposed to a strictly legal approach to dealing with issues at the community level;
  • being proactive in terms of developing a working partnership with residents and business people on the an officer’s assigned beat and patrol unit area as well as addressing local community issues in their early stages before they developed into full-blown community problems.

The concept was a sound one but ahead of its time.  The OAA approach represented a radical departure from the policing norms of the day in terms of values, goals and approaches.

Officers assigned to beat patrol received very limited training and for the most part continued doing beat patrol in the same manner as they had in the past.  The proactive side of the equation was not sufficiently explained to either beat personnel or members assigned to mobile patrol units.  The entire operation was administered by a Staff Sergeant and without any apparent support by the police executive of the day, many officers took and expressed the attitude “this too shall pass” and failed to buy into the initiative.

Lastly, the police executive of the day was not prepared to give up decision-making power or control to the officers working at the street level.  This attitude  prevented the a proactive approach central to the success of OAA from taking hold.

Like many good ideas OAA  suffered from insufficient executive commitment,  inadequate pre-implementation  training and a general lack of post-implementation  nurturing.

As a consequence OAA died on the vine.

Part IV will deal with foot patrols during the community policing era which was kick started with the publication of a discussion paper titled A Vision of the Future of Policing in Canada, published by the Solicitor General of Canada in 1990.