Planning for Crime Prevention: A Transatlantic Perspective

By Richard H. Schneider; Ted Kitchen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4

BASIC THEORIES AND PRINCIPLES OF PLACE-BASED CRIME PREVENTION PLANNING

INTRODUCTION

This chapter considers the basic principles of place-based crime prevention within the contexts of the four theories with which it is generally associated: defensible space, crime prevention through environmental design, situational crime prevention and environmental criminology. Our aim is to discuss these theories and the principles that are derived from them so that their applications to real world circumstances - US and British projects, interventions and case studies - will be clearly demonstrable in the chapters that follow. Although 'New Urbanism' is not generally considered to be a primary place-based crime prevention theory, we also explore its design principles and strategies, since they have been widely claimed by some architects and planners for their potential to reduce crime and the fear of crime in communities. We conclude the chapter with a discussion of crime displacement, one of the key issues that has bedevilled place-based crime prevention theory and practice from its origins.


WEAVING THE THREADS TOGETHER

Though often seen as whole cloth by police, planners, citizens and even some practitioners, three of the four major place-based crime prevention theories were spun out of separate fabrics that through time have become woven together. This is so even though their chief advocates - Oscar Newman (defensible space), C. Ray Jeffrey (crime prevention through environmental design), Ronald Clarke (situational crime prevention) - while acknowledging contributions from related approaches, have earnestly argued the distinctiveness of their own. In fact, defensible space, CPTED and situational crime prevention were developed largely independently from each other. 1 Environmental criminology was conceived by Jeffrey's protégés; it bears a strong resemblance to CPTED in many respects but also draws inspiration from Kevin Lynch's urban design imaging concepts (1960), from University of Chicago School social and zonal ecology theory (Burgess, 1916; Park et al., 1925), and from geographic research and theory. In some ways, therefore, it is in a class by itself while owing a large debt to the other three theories. However developed, all four place-based crime prevention theories often overlap as they contain mutually supporting concepts. There is no doubt that the pedigree

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