Some key elements of CPTED (Virginia Main Street Monitor, Winter 2003, "Introduce Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design to Your Downtown")
Natural surveillance: is the placement of physical features, activities and people in such a way as to maximize visibility. A potential criminal is less likely to attempt a crime if he or she is at risk of being observed. At the same time, we are likely to feel safer when we can see others and be seen.
Territoriality: is the use of physical attributes that express ownership, such as fencing, signage, landscaping and pavement treatments. A well maintained home, building or community creates a sense of ownership, which helps deter criminals. [Yes, I know some readers may see this more as an encouragement than a deterrent].
1. Designation: What is the intended use of the area? What behavior is allowed?
2. Definition: Are there physical limits to the area? Are borders
between the area and public spaces defined? Is it clear which activities are allowed where?
In 1982 another book on crime and the environment was also published: Broken Windows. This book used the analogy that when a window is left broken in a building it eventually attracts further decay which can spread throughout a neighborhood.
Hamel-smith went further to highlight the DPP’s (Director of Public Prosecution) office, where he related that:
“At present, I am told that there is a shortage of some 26 attorneys in that office. The department must be stretched to the limit and one thing is for sure, there is no long line waiting outside to be recruited there. The lure and attraction of private practice is far more compelling than public service and that is a main stumbling block to improving the judicial system.” [Blogger's Note: I do not know to what extent, if any, this situation has changed at the DPP's Office]
Whether it be the criminal justice approach or the environmental approach, it seems that we are not implementing all the stops in any timely manner to halt the crime in our midst. If there is not a considerable dent soon in the crime situation, or if the public does not likewise feel a greater level of safety and reliability upon our police service, the next step for some maybe vigilantism.
Vigilantism though, is also the first stepping stone towards anarchy and this is certainly not a milepost we want to include on our route to a better Trinidad and Tobago.
Crime/Police Resource Links