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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77056 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Link Between Crime and the Built Environment - The Current State of Knowledge, Volume 1
Author(s): C Murray; T Motoyama; W V Rouse; H RubensteinRubenstein H
Corporate Author: American Institutes for Research
Ctr for Effective Collaboration and Practice
United States of America
Project Director: H Rubenstein
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 110
Sponsoring Agency: American Institutes for Research
Washington, DC 20007
National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Superintendent of Documents, GPO
Washington, DC 20402
US Dept of Justice NIJ Pub
Washington, DC 20531
Contract Number: J-LEAA-026-78
Sale Source: Superintendent of Documents, GPO
Washington, DC 20402
United States of America

National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study, designed to assess the state of knowledge on the link between crime and the built environment at the end of the 1970's, focuses on two topics: what has been established about this link, and what are the key outstanding issues.
Abstract: The answers were based on a methodological review of 52 empirical studies conducted on the topic during the last decade; 15 major studies were subjected to more intensive analysis. Studies were included in the review if they had some sort of empirical base, if they used the built environment as the independent variable, and if the dependent variable included occurrence of stranger-to-stranger crimes or the fear of crime in a given area. Findings indicated that elements of the physical environment and combinations of elements can reduce crime and the fear of crime. The strongest evidence found was for the effectiveness of procedures to control or monitor movement (locks, alarms, surveillance cameras, guard stations, etc.). Some evidence was also found for the importance of factors that increase visibility, and for the ability of physical design to influence social behavior to reduce crime and fear. What the evidence does not show is why the effects occur when they occur; thus, it is difficult to use the present knowledge base to tell whether a given strategy is likely to be effective, suggest the kinds of numbers or strategies to use, or identify the conditions under which a design strategy is a cost-effective approach. The study suggests that the limited evidence on the crime-built environment link should not constrain the applications of these ideas; however, many of the design features suggested by the theory are reasonable in cost (such as better locks). Some are desirable in themselves (such as fewer families per floor or per building). Recommended research includes (1) studies in real environments of the hypothesized links between built environments, intervening behaviors, and crime; (2) development of improvements in the operationalizing and measurement of basic constructs and variables; (3) understanding of the role of the built environment in supporting other anticrime methods, and (4) studies of offender perceptions and behavior in relation to the built environment. Figures illustrating three underlying rationales for the crime-built environment link are given. An appendix contains the literature review strategy and a bibliography of approximately 265 references.
Index Term(s): Crime prevention measures; Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) programs; Environmental design; Literature reviews; Nonbehavioral correlates of crime; Residential security; Surveillance equipment; Urban planning
Note: Volume 2, The Link Between Crime and the Built Environment: Methodological Reviews of Individual Crime-Environment Studies, will not be published but is available on loan from NCJRS.
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