Saturday, September 26, 2009

Improve Parkway Environment & Reduce Crime

For several years criminal justice professionals have realized that improving the user friendly environment of an area reduces crime.

The tactic has become formalized and one international association provides resources.

The majority of crimes on the Parkway happen in the Lower Reach area from Discovery Park to Cal Expo.

A large part of what drives the crime rate in the Lower Reach is the inaccessibility of the overgrown area sheltering the illegal camping sites whose inhabitants often prey on Parkway users and the surrounding community.

One dramatic example of potential criminal danger is the Parkway ranger report of 20 registered sex offenders camping there which we blogged on recently.

An aspect of any future management strategy to reduce crime in that area would have to include a more vigorous cultivation of the undergrowth to provide complete visual and pedestrian access to the area which would help reduce criminal danger by encouraging greater public access.

An article from the Charlotte Observer points out the benefits of environmental design.

“People getting off the bus at Arrowhead Drive were easy targets, especially on payday.

“The enclosed bus stop was dark, half a football field away from the nearest home and surrounded by trees.

“Robbers would hide in the shadows leading to nearby apartments or pretend to be waiting for the bus themselves, then pull out a gun when unsuspecting passengers got off.

“Increased police patrols didn't work. Officers couldn't be at the stop 24-7, and when they weren't, the robbers would strike.

"So officers in the North Tryon Division made a proposal to the Charlotte Area Transit System earlier this year: move the bus stop.

“Today, the stop is less than a block away, but it's under a street light, and people inside nearby apartments - potential witnesses - can easily see if something is amiss.

“And, police say, there hasn't been a robbery there since the move.”