By Calvin at 14:00 GMT, 3 months ago
Quite a few years ago (2004, I think) I worked as a Police Crime Prevention Design Adviser in Camden where I developed a number of initiatives to ‘design out’ crime opportunities. One of these was Crime Opportunity Profiling of Streets or ‘COPS’ as it became known.
Basically it involved me walking the streets in a study area (usually one infested by drug users and dealers) making observations and taking photographs of design problems in the street. This might have been misused recessed doorways, ungated alleys where drug taking was happening, insecure access down into building light wells and basements, walls covered in graffiti and so on. The idea was to remove these nasty things and so make the local built environment less conducive to the behaviour of the criminal or drug user.
I would approach the building owners and point out the problem and offer my solutions and I would also lodge my detailed findings (with solutions) with the local planning department. This meant that they had a record of what needed to be done to reduce the opportunity for crime at their finger tips and could use the information to source ‘planning gain’ from developers. Camden planning department found this to be very useful and the vast majority of developers were more than happy to fund a community safety project along the road in which their development was to take root.
That was then. Now there’s very few CPDAs left in the Met and the planners who had a responsibility for community safety have either gone or have been pegged back. Shame really, but that’s progress for you.
My work was eventually published in a big book funded by a European project and in that publication I listed all the common problems I had found – with my solutions where these had been developed.
I hadn’t given COPS a great deal of thought until about a month ago I had a message from a criminologist I know asking me if I had a copy of that book. Lucky enough I did and so sent him one. Then, about two weeks ago I had a message from a former police colleague about a similar matter concerning recessed doors.
Yesterday, I was just searching for my site on a Google search as I do from time to time and I came across my work online; accessed from a Dutch research firm I know well called DSP Groep.
So, as there appears to be some renewed interest in my work I thought it only right to give you the link so you can download my stuff and have a peruse.
Anyone with a camera and a dose of common sense can conduct an audit of a street, but first read about my process and the underlying reasons for me doing it.
You might get a warning come up on your screen when you click the link (I did), but I have found no problems.