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.

 

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March 2012 Crime Data

A Cautionary Tale:  March 2012 Crime Statistics for Winnipeg (for crimes tracked by Crimestat)

Crime Type Year-to-Date Comparison Selected Filter Comparison
Jan 1, 2012
To
Mar 31, 2012
Jan 1, 2011
To
Mar 31, 2011
% Change Mar 1, 2012
To
Mar 31, 2012
Mar 1, 2011
To
Mar 31, 2011
% Change
 Break & Enters – Commercial
200 151 32% 48 49 -2%
 Break & Enters – Other
200 191 5% 69 85 -19%
 Break & Enters – Residential
480 514 -7% 151 169 -11%
 Homicide
7 9 -22% 2 2 0%
 Robbery – Commercial/Financial
109 83 31% 47 33 42%
 Robbery – Non-Commercial/Financial
371 266 39% 141 85 66%
 Sexual Assault
30 45 -33% 7 18 -61%
 Shooting
18 5 260% 6 2 200%
 Theft Motor Vehicle – Actual
294 346 -15% 115 92 25%
 Theft Motor Vehicle – Attempt Only
186 289 -36% 62 91 -32%
Total 1,895 1,899 0% 648 626 4%

Source:  Winnipeg Police Crimestat website

Highlights 

1.  The city-wide crime rate (for crimes tracked by Crimestat) for the first 3 months of this year (January – March) is unchanged compared to the same period in 2011.

2.  The overall crime rate  in March of 2012 is 4% higher than in March of 2011.

3.   Commercial robberies are up 42% for March (31% year to date).

4.  Muggings are up 66% for March (39% year to date).

5.  Shootings, (although the numbers are still small 18 total so far in 2012) are increasing at an alarming rate compared to 2011 (260%).

Increase in auto theft rate:

In the February  report I drew attention to the 3% rise in auto theft rate.  In March the auto theft rate increased by 25% compared to March of 2011.    This has all the appearances of an upward trend that requires immediate attention.  If the Winnipeg Police Service allows this trend to continue unchecked it has the potential to negatively affect Winnipeg’s overall auto theft rate and undoing all of the awarding winning results achieved by the auto theft suppression strategy.

Crime Breakdown by Police District and Electoral Ward

The following 2 tables provide a breakdown of crime (tracked by Crimestat) for the first two months of 2012.  The first table shows the breakdown by police district, the second by electoral ward.  The tables are followed by Crimestat tables for the two electoral wards that showed the biggest increase in Crime.

Break down by police district

Police District February Year to date
1 +20 +15
2 -33 -25
3 +21 -1
East -7 -16
6 -6 +5
City Wide +4 -3

Breakdown by electoral ward

Electoral Ward February Year to date
Charleswood – Tuxedo +33 +30
Daniel McIntyre +34 +13
Elmwood – East Kildonan -22 -35
Fort Rouge – East Fort Garry -13 -7
Mynarski +4 -8
North Kildonan -56 -21
Old Kildonan +173 +110
Point Douglas +5 -7
River Heights – Fort Garry -15 -3
St. Boniface +22 +11
St. Charles -56 -33
St. James-Brooklands -35 -15
St. Norbert +156 +84
St. Vital +4 -14
Transcona 0 -8

Old Kildonan Electoral Ward (table)

Crime Type Year-to-Date Comparison Selected Filter Comparison
Jan 1, 2012
To
Feb 29, 2012
Jan 1, 2011
To
Feb 28, 2011
% Change Feb 1, 2012
To
Feb 29, 2012
Feb 1, 2011
To
Feb 28, 2011
% Change
 Break & Enters – Commercial
4 5 -20% 2 1 100%
 Break & Enters – Other
10 0 (NC) 8 0 (NC)
 Break & Enters – Residential
17 9 89% 7 5 40%
 Homicide
0 0 (NC) 0 0 (NC)
 Robbery – Commercial/Financial
3 1 200% 3 1 200%
 Robbery – Non-Commercial/Financial
5 0 (NC) 4 0 (NC)
 Sexual Assault
0 2 -100% 0 0 (NC)
 Shooting
0 1 -100% 0 0 (NC)
 Theft Motor Vehicle – Actual
16 7 129% 13 5 160%
 Theft Motor Vehicle – Attempt Only
8 5 60% 4 3 33%
Total 63 30 110% 41 15 173%

Source:  Winnipeg Police Crimestat website

* it appears there is an issue with the Break& Enter-Other and Robbery Non-Commercial categories.  Although the numbers vary between 2011 and 2012 the difference is shown as (N/C) indicating no change

St. Norbert Electoral Ward (table)

Crime Type Year-to-Date Comparison Selected Filter Comparison
Jan 1, 2012
To
Feb 29, 2012
Jan 1, 2011
To
Feb 28, 2011
% Change Feb 1, 2012
To
Feb 29, 2012
Feb 1, 2011
To
Feb 28, 2011
% Change
 Break & Enters – Commercial
6 0 (NC) 2 0 (NC)
 Break & Enters – Other
0 1 -100% 0 0 (NC)
 Break & Enters – Residential
16 7 129% 7 6 17%
 Homicide
0 1 -100% 0 0 (NC)
 Robbery – Commercial/Financial
3 0 (NC) 3 0 (NC)
 Robbery – Non-Commercial/Financial
10 2 400% 4 1 300%
 Sexual Assault
0 0 (NC) 0 0 (NC)
 Shooting
0 0 (NC) 0 0 (NC)
 Theft Motor Vehicle – Actual
10 12 -17% 6 2 200%
 Theft Motor Vehicle – Attempt Only
1 2 -50% 1 0 (NC)
Total 46 25 84% 23 9 156%

Source:  Winnipeg Police Crimestat website

* same issue as with the previous table in this instance in the Break&Enter Commercial and Robbery-Commercial and Theft Motor Vehicle – Attempt  categories.

Comments:

1. Although the per cent-age increased in Old Kildonan and St. Norbert are extremely high, the actual numbers when compared to other electoral wards are still very low by comparison.

2.  In Old Kildonan the increase was driven by residential break-ins and actual and attempted auto theft.

3.  In St. Norbert it was residential break-ins and muggings.

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%.

United States 2009 Preliminary Crime Stats

On December 21st. the FBI released its preliminary crime statistics for the United States for 2009.  The highlights are: 

  • Violent crime (murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault) decreased by 4.4% 
    • The largest decease occurred in cities with populations of 1 million or more (7%)
    • Small cities with populations of 10,000 to 24,999 saw an increase of 1.7% 
  • Property crime decreased; motor vehicle theft by 18.7%, larceny-theft by 5.3% and burglary by 2.5%.
  • Reported arsons declined b 8.2 % 

These figures are based on data submitted by 11,700 American law enforcement agencies.