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    Crime and Economic Development

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    The lack of secure environments for business and industry presents a substantial obstacle to the economic revitalization of major American cities. Both existing and new investment is endangered and reduced by the unacceptable risks to personal safety and property found in older urban areas. Although essential to the protection of industrial capacity and goods, improved building security must be accompanied by: protection for the work force on the way to and from work; security for parked motor vehicles; security from arson and vandalism; and security of a psychological nature if workers with the needed skills are to be attracted to work within the older areas of the city that are most in need of economic development.

    This form of security is highly dependent on the configuration of the overall environment, on sightlines, traffic layout, illumination, public services, entrapment patterns, work schedules, and public attitudes as well as on appropriate and reliable security programs, hardware, and systems. Of special importance is the design of urban industrial and commercial environments which promote positive patterns of human behavior and psychological security while frustrating criminal behavior. The potential for this approach has been indicated for multi-family residences by Newman, Cooper, Fowler, and others but has not been applied to the very grave problems of security for industrial and commercial activity in older urban areas.

    The Special Session on Industrial and Commercial Security Through Environmental Design was organized to explore this approach, to discuss its implications for policy and program within concerned government agencies, and to identify avenues for research and demonstration projects which directly address the problem. To accomplish these goals the session was organized in a manner different from other sessions at this symposium. An illustrated presentation by the session chairman outlined the problem and the potentials of the approach. This was followed by commentary and discussion from an invited panel of distinguished Federal officials representing agencies having an interest in the issues of economic development, commerce, urban policy, and crime prevention. This paper conceptualizes the approach, presents the outcome of the panel discussions, and outlines appropriate research initiatives. Research program outlines and an executive summary have been also prepared.


    building security, industrial development, defensible space, crime prevention, environmental psychology, territoriality, cities

    Author Information:

    Burnette, C
    Charles Burnette and Associates, Philadelphia, Pa.

    Committee/Subcommittee: F12.20

    DOI: 10.1520/STP28078S