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Building Community: An Environmental Approach to Crime Prevention

Crime cannot be understood as a single-solution problem. Participation of the community is important to complement and make more efficient any program of crime control by police authorities or any other law enforcement agency.
This thesis is intended to create consciousness among designers of the urban environment of their social role. Cities must include places to promote community interaction and formation of social bonds. As social bonds among residents increase, and bonds with the place begin building a sense of territoriality in the community, the residents become active defenders of the place against crime.
A theory summary presents different and complementary points of view, some focused directly to urban and landscape design such as those stated by Jane Jacobs, Clare Cooper Marcus, Donald Appleyard, and Oscar Newman. Others focused to social and psychological aspects of the relation between humans and environment, for example those presented by Erving Goffman, Edward Hall, Amos Rapaport, Irwin Altman, and Setha Low.
A field study is presented to complement the theory review. It was based on two inner city neighborhoods in Orlando, Florida. The data used came from Orlando Police Department, FBI, and U.S. Department of Justice crime and victimization reports. The population characteristics were analyzed based on the 2000 U.S. Census.
From the study, a general conclusion is that social characteristics of the population in any given neighborhood such as poverty, high percentage of broken families, unemployment, social heterogeneity, large numbers of young population, and large proportion of rented homes create environments highly susceptible of crime. But social characteristics are not the only aspects determining crime. Physical layout of the neighborhood plays also an important role in preventing or promoting crime. In spite of the fact that both neighborhoods had similar social characteristics, crime was considerably higher in the neighborhood where the physical structure neglected possibilities for neighbors to interact and use public areas.
Theories and other information presented is finally synthesized into design guidelines, which are related specifically to the function of landscape architects and other designers as shapers of cities and societies.
Date16 January 2002
CreatorsBarreto, Gustavo A.
ContributorsAnne M. Spafford, Bruce G. Sharky, Miles E. Richardson
Source SetsLouisiana State University
Detected LanguageEnglish
Rightsunrestricted, I hereby grant to LSU or its agents the right to archive and to make available my thesis or dissertation in whole or in part in the University Libraries in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. I retain all proprietary rights, such as patent rights. I also retain the right to use in future works (such as articles or books) all or part of this thesis or dissertation.

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