Plan to out-design crime

STAMPING out crime along Maylands’ Eighth Avenue shopping strip may be as simple as tweaking the street’s design, a Curtin University researcher says.

Researcher Paul Cozens and colleague Courtney Babb, an urban planning expert, will soon talk to local traders and collect information on when, where and what kind of anti-social behaviour occurs on the street.

They will also observe comings and goings, and plan on having a chat to local police.

Collated data will be used to determine what needs to be done to make the area safer and more vibrant.

Dr Cozens says common hotspots for crime on retail strips are arches, alcoves, places with a confusing purpose, under-utilised areas and where there is poor surveillance (although, he says he’s not a fan of CCTV).

“It will start as an investigation into what the problems are,” Dr Cozens says.

He says it’s important to note the aim of the study—a collaboration with Liz Lennon at Focused Solutions, an organisation helping people to create better places to live and work—isn’t to push anti-social people out to another area.

Instead, he says, suggested changes to the streetscape will encourage a positive change and engage those people.

It will be the first time Dr Cozens will study existing structures—he’s used to working on development proposals such as the WA government’s Perth City Link reconnecting the CBD with Northbridge.

The study has been prompted by Maylands Labor MP Lisa Baker who says traders and residents have complained to her about loitering and crime along the strip.

Bayswater police failed to respond to Voice questions about crime rates by our deadline.

Dr Cozen’s book on “designing out crime”—Think Crime! Using Evidence, Theory and Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design for Planning Safer Cities (2014)—can be found at praxiseducation.com.

by EMMIE DOWLING

909 Ellanova 10x2

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