CPTED in Hughesville, MD
Hughesville is a small town in Maryland with a population of just over 2 000 people. The annual crime rates are quite low with no significant fluctuation in the crime occurrence between the town center and other areas (Neighborhood Scout, 2016). The annual number of crimes per 1 000 of the population is 12.46, with 27 total property crimes, and only two violent crimes in 2016 (Neighborhood Scout, 2016). Chances of becoming a violent crime victim in Hughesville are 1 in 1164, which is about five times less than the state average of 1 in 224 (Neighborhood Scout, 2016). However, these figures are higher for property crimes: the chances of becoming a victim of a property crime are 1 in 86, which is only two times lower than the state average of 1 in 40 (Neighborhood Scout, 2016). Finally, there are only three crimes per square mile each year, which is more than ten times lower than the national median of 32.8 and 20 times lower than the Maryland median of 61 (Neighborhood Scout, 2016).
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Low crime rates in small US towns are no surprise: the majority of the population knows each other, and there are usually only a few business or shops in town that could be worth targeting by robbers. These circumstances also affect the use of crime prevention strategies in the area. Despite the fact that most streets have CCTV and decent street lighting, other strategies for crime prevention through environmental planning (CPTED) are virtually non-existent. Few houses have visible alarms that would deter the potential criminals from attempting a property crime. Most of the businesses and shops have alarms, but are not surrounded by any protective structures, such as fences, and do not have any night-time security guards. Paid parking lots are monitored by CCTV, but the fence surrounding them is low and weak, making them easy to penetrate. Overall, the environmental planning methods used for crime prevention in town are scarce.
Who should be involved in a CPTED project and why?
CPTED project planning has many stakeholders, including the local government, the state government, police, local residents, and business owners. Diane Zahm (2011) argues that the production of a CPTED plan is not an isolated activity, but rather a community action in which all the stakeholders should have a say (p. 25). Firstly, the involvement of all the different stakeholders is needed, because many of them would have ideas and propositions that could improve the plan. Secondly, as Zahm (2011) notes, “broad community support for the plan enhances the potential for success during plan implementation” (p. 25). Overall, it is important to engage the local communities, business owners, and other stakeholders in the planning process as much as possible, as this will ensure the effectiveness of the devised strategy.
Why is land development and land use important to physical and informational security?
There are two ways in which land use and land development can affect crime levels of a certain area. Firstly, poor use of land results in littering, a high number of vacant lots, declining property values, and the poverty of agricultural sector; these features have an adverse effect on the quality of life in the area, and thus raise the crime level (Zahm, 2011, p. 15). Lack of land development is also indicative of the overall lack of respect for property and the community, as well as of the bad neighborhood stability (Zahm, 2011, p. 33). Secondly, the infrastructure of the area, including allocation of buildings, transportation nets, and other features, can either facilitate the crime or be an obstacle to undesired behavior, which makes it important to consider this factor in the development of a CPTED plan.
How does landscaping prevent crime?
Most importantly, landscaping allows creating barriers, both real and perceptual, to entry into the facilities that can be subject to property crime (Zahm, 2011, p. 7). For instance, a line of trees or a fence can help to define the borders of a site in order to decrease trespassing, whereas the positioning of street lighting in accordance with the landscape can help to identify a threat before the crime occurs.
Why is it important to focus on access control for people with disabilities? How does this aid in the prevention of crime?
In most modern communities, there are many adjustments to the structure of buildings and streets that facilitate the movement and access of the people with disabilities. Some of these features that grant access to disabled people can also be helpful in preventing property crimes. For instance, automatic doors in most places are controlled by a difficult system of locks that is much harder to unlock from the outside than many traditional locking mechanisms.
In a conclusion statement, do you think your community is doing enough to prevent crime? Why/Why not?
Hughesville, MD does not have a sufficient structure of environmental barriers to criminal behavior. For example, most of the buildings have no visible alarms or fences, whereas the entrances into many shops and other businesses are locked by traditional locks rather than more advanced mechanisms. Despite the fact that there are not that many rich businesses in town – for instance, there are no large jewelry stores or bank offices – there are still many property crimes each year that could be prevented by simple adjustments to the landscape and infrastructure of the town. Clearly, a thorough environmental design plan could become an important part of the local crime prevention scheme in the future and would help in decreasing the number of crimes.
Neighborhood Scout (2016). Hughesville crime rates. Web.
Zahm, D. (2011). Using crime prevention through environmental design in problem-solving. Problem-Oriented Guides for Police Problem-Solving Tools Series, 8. Web.