Friday, February 22, 2013

Do Criminals Take The Train To New Hunting Grounds?

There was a great article at The Atlantic Cities that looked at the common refrain that new transportation infrastructure such as bus stops and commuter train stations will increase crime in the areas served by them. This argument often comes up in the debates that surround public planning for this type of infrastructure. However, according to the piece, this argument often falls short of reality. 
“People are convinced that if you put a subway station out in the suburbs, out in Dunwoody, that criminals are going to commute from downtown out there,” he says. “Apparently they’re going to steal their TVs, get back on MARTA and go back in. But criminals just do not travel – that’s the hardest perception to get people to break.”

Via The Atlantic Cities
What I thought was most interesting in the piece was the idea that transportation planners need to plan for the fear of crime in selling their proposals to the community. In reality, that is very good advice for nearly any city project be it a train station or a youth center.

Often times perception is just as powerful if not more powerful than reality. If the public perceives that a project will increase crime that fear needs to be addressed.

What does your agency do to reduce the fear of crime that sometimes comes with new projects?

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