It is now widely recognised that there is a link between design and crime and that careful attention to the planning of towns and to the design of estates and individual buildings can help reduce crime.
Policy is set out in Circular 5/94 'Planning Out Crime', which states that planning proposals can help reduce crime, particularly if they are considered as part of a strategic approach incorporating measures, including, for example, estate or town centre management and Closed Circuit Television (CCTV). The circular accepts that crime prevention is a 'material' planning consideration which can legitimately be taken into account in preparing plans and deciding planning applications.
The circular suggests that if areas, such as town centres, are occupied after dark, the presence of people produces informal supervision which reduces vandalism and crime. Having a mix of uses, including housing and entertainment, will ensure that the area does not become deserted, and therefore a potentially threatening environment.
The regeneration of large housing estates should incorporate measures such as diversification of tenure, the creation of smaller community areas and the provision of facilities for the young and proposals to create a more attractive environment, since it has been shown that packages of such measures are successful in reducing crime.
Detailed design measures can help reduce vandalism and crime. Attractive, well cared for environments are less prone to vandalism, but in some cases it is recognised that the need for crime prevention measures will have to be balanced against visual amenity. With landscaping it is important to avoid planting which can screen wrong doers close to footpaths, but the use of spiky bushes can help deter crime.
Footpaths should be straight, wide, well-lit and well supervised by passers by and overlooking residents. Car parks should be well lit and supervised where possible. Shutters on shops may be necessary but should be attractively designed, for example with open grilles, to avoid 'dead' shopping frontages and graffiti.
Liaison between the developer, the planning authority and the police can ensure that new developments have crime prevention measures built into their design. Further guidance will be set out in the forthcoming South Derbyshire Design Guide SPD.
For crime prevention advice you can contact the Derbyshire Police Crime Prevention Design Adviser. We have signed up to the Derbyshire Designing Out Crime Protocol. (pdf, 217kb)