Preventing crime, providing street lighting, creating good schools, and making neighborhoods more pedestrian-friendly are the top priorities of New Orleans residents asked to help craft Hurricane Katrina recovery plans, says a Tulane University survey reported by the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The survey of 1,073 returned and still-displaced residents offers compelling evidence that New Orleanians want crime-fighting measures incorporated into neighborhood designs, said Tom Farley of the Prevention Research Center at Tulane’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
While crime is always a concern of neighborhood activists, Farley said the notion of “crime prevention through environmental design,” though well established among public health experts, seems to have been ignored in recent planning workshops. “Of course, crime can’t be entirely removed by planning, but crime rates can be reduced by building in certain features such as well-lit streets. Criminals act when and where they can’t be seen,” he said. “Other features that may reduce crime rates are designs that bring responsible adults onto the street, such as sidewalks, or that bring them into eye contact with the street, such as placing transit stops in front of busy retail stores.”