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  • Writer's pictureEmily Owen

Securing Our Streets: Strategies for Enhancing Safety in Urban Public Spaces

Updated: Apr 12

Urban public spaces are the places where we live, work, and play. They are the spaces that define our cities--and they're not just for people who live in them. In fact, urban public spaces are often visited by tourists from other states or countries who want to experience what makes your city unique.

Urban safety is important because it affects us all--whether you live in a big city like New York City or a small town like Mineola (population: 15,000). In fact, even if you don't live in an urban area at all but visit one occasionally for business or pleasure (like me!), it's still important for you to understand how your actions affect others' safety when visiting these areas--especially since many people spend more time visiting cities than living there!

Surveillance and Monitoring

Surveillance and Monitoring Surveillance cameras are an important tool for law enforcement, but they're not the only one. In addition to CCTV cameras, you may also see private security guards and police officers patrolling urban public spaces.

Urban Design Strategies

Urban design strategies can help to create a safe street environment by:

  • Providing lighting that reduces crime and enhances security.

  • Designing streets to be pedestrian-friendly, with trees, flowers and other landscaping elements that provide shade and beauty.

  • Providing seating areas where people can gather or take refuge from the sun.

Engaging the Community

  • Neighborhood watch programs

  • Community policing

  • Public education

Criminal Justice System

The criminal justice system is a critical component of urban public safety. The police, courts and jails play an important role in preventing crime and prosecuting offenders. The criminal justice system also has the power to rehabilitate offenders through treatment programs or other interventions that can help reduce recidivism. Zero-tolerance policing refers to policies that seek to deter crime by strictly enforcing laws against minor offenses such as loitering, public intoxication and disorderly conduct. This approach has been criticized for focusing on low-level crimes while ignoring more serious offenses such as murder or rape.[1] Restorative justice programs are based on the idea that individuals who commit crimes should be held accountable for their actions but also given opportunities for rehabilitation so they do not reoffend.[2] These programs often involve community members who meet with victims of a crime or their families in order to work out ways they can make amends for their actions (e.g., paying restitution).

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