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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 91051 Find in a Library
Title: Physical Environment and Community Control of Crime (From Crime and Public Policy, P 107-122, 1983, James Q Wilson, ed. - See NCJ-91045)
Author(s): C A Murray
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 16
Sponsoring Agency: ICS Press
Oakland, CA 94612
Sale Source: ICS Press
Institute for Contemporary Studies
1611 Telegraph Ave., Suite 406
Oakland, CA 94612
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Using the concept of defensible space as a means of crime prevention may help forestall deterioration in a low-crime area that is threatened by outsiders, but defensible space improvements have the least effect in places with the worst crime problems.
Abstract: Defensible space improvements in high-crime areas face two nearly insuperable obstacles: the fact that offenders are probably largely insiders with intimate local knowledge and the presence of preexisting social characteristics that hamper informal social control. However, the principles proposed by Oscar Newman in his book, 'Defensible Space,' still seem to be appropriate design features that can be incorporated when new housing is being built, with little if any additional cost. These innovations can at least make the housing more attractive and livable. However, issues of whether to alter existing housing or neighborhoods must be considered in the context of determining how to allocate scarce resources. Neighbors can be allies and benefit from measures that make it easier to see who comes and goes from each other's houses. However, if neighbors are potential burglars, these measures may make matters worse.
Index Term(s): Architectural design; Defensible space; Human factors engineering
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