Bob Knights, an authority on designing out crime, details a new course.
Only in the relatively recent past has credence been given to the concept of designing out crime in the built environment. To many people the mention of crime prevention conjures images of thick doors, big locks, barbed wire and alarm systems. There is however a far wider approach to crime prevention and reduction which can be achieved by the management of, attitude to and design of the built environment. It is often a more subliminal and aesthetically pleasing approach and invariably a far more cost commensurate manner. After planning, design and build, an environment must be managed to survive and be used as intended. Every environment is designed with a use in mind, and an expected behaviour within it. Management of that environment will therefore enhance both the use and longevity by correct and appropriate behaviour. This will lead to an attitude being expressed by the users that is commensurate with the intended function; a good attitude will be positive and not surprisingly a bad attitude will be negative. Attitude to the space can obviously be tempered by the manner in which the space is managed. The word design implies forethought and this is the start point. Designers, architects, planners and allied disciplines need to be aware of the advantages of designing out crime and designing in safety and security. It could be suggested that everyone with legitimate cause should have access to wherever they desire; to the shops, to work, to home. To achieve that they need mobility, by foot, by cycle, by car or by public transport but there is a third element sought by a criminal – opportunity. Informed and effective planning and design can deny that opportunity. That ingredient may be escape routes, lack of surveillance or anonymity. These are only some of the aspects that emerge from the research and writings over the years.
Prevention after the event
Traditional crime prevention – correcting after the event, or rebuilding after failure, or bigger locks and more alarms – is outdated and a poor return on investment. Future strategies should be based upon the joint skills of the designers, the wants of the user and the knowledge of those who understand the criminal fraternity and the interaction with the environment. With the exception of a few academics and practitioners, any advice giving in this area has been the exclusive domain of the police through architectural liaison officers or crime prevention design advisors. An academically accredited course is now available however designed for professionals from all disciplines with an interest in the built environment. Advanced Certificate in Environmental Design & Crime Prevention is a one-week residential course examining the planning process, urban design, environmental criminology, legislation, research and analysis and other pertinent subjects. There is much practical content and a requirement to submit a final dissertation for assessment; successful students receive an advanced certificate. This award is recognised by the Architectural and Surveying Institute in membership application. To date the delegates have included the architectural, planning, insurance and surveying professions, community safety officers, police officers and independent consultants. This award could become essential as the requirements of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, D of E Circular 5/94 Planning Out Crime and personal liability issues become more widespread. The course is delivered by Oxford Brookes’ University School of Planning with AKA Training & Consultancy. All course tutors and speakers are experienced and authorities in their fields. The course is designed to very interactive and self-supporting so that students can participate to the full and offer their own expertise to the general inputs. For details ring AKA Training & Consultancy on 01268799244 or 01493393667. All courses are held at Oxford Brookes.