Webinar to focus on how communities can prevent crime with environmental design

October 10, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — How communities can manipulate land use and design to prevent crime is the subject of a web-based seminar to be presented by Penn State Extension at noon on Oct. 16.

Presenting the 75-minute webinar will be Jamie Walker, associate professor and extension specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

“Many communities face issues with real and perceived crime,” she said. “One reason is that areas of communities naturally invite crime, and that reinforces the need for good property monitoring and maintenance to reflect visible ownership of spaces.”

An approach to deter crime is to design, manage and program the built environment to create safer neighborhoods. Appropriate environmental design, according to Walker, also can increase the perceived likelihood of detection and apprehension, known to be the biggest single deterrent to crime.

“Natural surveillance, natural access control, territorial reinforcement and maintenance are four of the primary concepts that, if utilized in everyday places and open spaces, can improve perceived crime and reduce the opportunity for actual crime to occur,” Walker said.

The webinar will focus on these four concepts through research and case studies, and the session will explore implementation opportunities for community-supported and locally engaged efforts.

Possible actions will be highlighted, ranging from simple educational programs and quick site assessments to fully developed programs for activating spaces and developing locally supported polices to enact concept elements.

“These steps are instrumental in assisting community leaders in tackling the tough question of how to get started in their local area using local staff and citizens,” she said.

“Communities Can Design Out” is the fourth webinar in the Penn State Extension Summer/Fall 2019 Land Use Webinar Series, which runs monthly from July to November. The series helps municipal elected and appointed officials, planners, landowners, interested individuals, farmers, and community organizations to be informed regarding land-use issues and decisions in their communities.

Other topics and dates in the webinar series include:

  • July 17: Complete Streets: Planning and Policy (previously recorded).
  • Aug. 21: Finding Pennsylvania’s Solar Future (previously recorded).
  • Sept 18: Should We Consider a Stormwater Utility to Facilitate Stormwater Management?” (previously recorded).
  • Nov. 20: Northeast U.S. Agriculture: Why It Matters.

All these programs are recorded and available for later viewing.

The cost of the webinar series is $50 for all five sessions, or $95 for all five sessions for those who want to receive AICP certification maintenance credits from the American Planning Association. The cost is also $95 for all five sessions for professional engineers needing PDH credits.

In addition, registered landscape architects can receive continuing education credits for a fee of $65.

For more information, contact Peter Wulfhorst at 570-296-3400 or by email at ptw3@psu.edu. To register for the webinars, visit https://extension.psu.edu/community-development/land-use/see-all-land-use/shopby/webinars.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 11, 2019