Can Environmental Design and Street Lights’ Retrofit Affect Crime Incidents in San Antonio?
ABSTRACT: The neighborhood planning and street design are two major contributors to the physical environment’s implications on safety measures. Natural surveillance, including glazing, lighting, and positioning of non-private areas and access paths inside and outside of buildings, has been studied ever since Oscar Newman and Jane Jacobs writings on successful design of streets with community spaces and observer’s control of outside spaces. Various methods and data processing tools are used in the literatures to examine the location’s capacity for natural surveillance as a major player in Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design [CPTED] and criteria such as space formation, nighttime lighting and its intensity, and visibility are used to identify crime hotspots. This paper is part of a broader project that examines environmental variables acting as crime generators at the public realm in the City of San Antonio [CoSA], and it focuses on drug, property, and violent [DPV] crimes reported for the period from 2012 to 2016. The study area is comprised of ten-neighborhood alongside the historic corridor of Fredericksburg Rd. Using geoprocessing tools of Geographic Information Systems, the method included univariate analysis of five environmental design variables: land use, street network, major transportation corridors, public spaces (parks and bus stops buffers), and street lights. Variables were triangulated with crime hotspots and the results showed that two neighborhoods (Gardendale and Five Points) have endured perseverance of crime hotspots from 2012 to 2016 in areas where multiple variables non-grid street network, parks, highway underpass, and a mix of commercial, industrial and multifamily land use were detected. When these variables exist in one location, they acted as crime-generators and created situational crime areas with intensity of crimes in public open space. The study provides a pathway for further examining -through qualitative data and micro scale analysis- to intervene in policy and design of public space in order to mitigate the likelihood of crime occurrence and endurance.
KEYWORDS: Crime, Environmental Design, Land Use, Street Network, and Street lights
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