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Planning and crime prevention

The planning system can help to prevent and reduce crime through better design and layout of new developments.

The Government advice document 'Planning Out Crime' states that planning proposals can help reduce crime, particularly if they're considered as part of a strategic approach incorporating a wide range of measures, including estate or town centre management and CCTV.

The document acknowledges that crime prevention is a material planning consideration which can legitimately be taken into account in preparing plans and deciding planning applications. It suggests that if areas such as town centres are occupied after dark, the presence of people provides informal supervision which can help to reduce vandalism and crime.

Mixed use

A mix of users, including housing and entertainment will ensure the area doesn't become a deserted and potentially threatening environment.

With reference to housing layouts, the regeneration of large housing estates should incorporate measures such as diversification of tenure, the creation of smaller community areas, the provision of facilities for the young and proposals to create a more attractive environment, since it has been shown that packages of such measures are successful in reducing crime.

Detailed design measures can help reduce vandalism and crime. Attractive, well cared for environments are less prone to vandalism, but in some cases it is recognised that the need for crime prevention measures will have to be balanced against the attractiveness of the area.

With landscaping, it is important to avoid planting which can hide wrongdoers close to footpaths, and using spiky bushes can help deter crime.

Footpaths should be straight, wide, well-lit and well-supervised by passers-by and overlooking residents.

Car parks should be well-lit and supervised where possible. Shutters on shops may be necessary but should be attractively designed, for example with open grilles, to avoid 'dead' shopping frontages and graffiti.

Liaison between the developer, the planning authority and the police can ensure that new developments have crime prevention measures built into their design.

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