By Leon Harris CPP
Published in INsite, June/July 2001
Whenever security is developed in relation to planned aged care facilities, there is the inevitable tension between over-securing and under-securing a site. It is important to ensure that all legitimate users of the site feel safe and that non legitimate users – particularly those intent on committing crime – are deterred from access.
A ‘designing out crime’ strategy challenges architectural design to eliminate structural, lighting and landscaping characteristics that attract crime, elevate the fear of crime by legitimate users, whilst reducing the costly over-dependence on technology. Crime prevention for new facilities should be incorporated in every phase of the development and include internal as well as external locations.
A few of the more common issues are provided here for consideration.
Fencing, when required, should be capable of providing unrestricted viewing from either side. It should be difficult to climb and not attract graffiti. It is essential that the fence permits ease of access to legitimate users and that the design permits the sighting of movement both inside and outside the site.
All landscaping should minimise the opportunity for concealment of criminals and maximise the opportunity for observation (natural surveillance) by all legitimate stakeholder/users of a facility.
Shrubs should be carefully selected. Only small shrubs not exceeding in 1 metre in height should be planted near walled or recessed areas, pathways, doorways or verandahs. This will reduce the potential for an intruder to hide at night. Well designed flower beds signal a “cared-for” precinct. Trees should not be located near buildings and should normally begin canopy coverage at around 1.5 metres (assuming a full height of between 4 to 8+ metres).
External lighting should accentuate pedestrian corridors and all pedestrian precincts should be pattern lit – either as white or yellow flood with an emphasis on eliminating building, fixture or landscaping shadows.
Avoid lighting imbalances, inappropriate white and yellow mixes and reflection clashes between internal and external light sources. Staff or residents should be able to identify externally lit areas from resident or office windows without reflected or beamed light causing uncertainty or irritation. Lux and lumen standards for all pedestrian and associated precinct lighting should be followed as per the Australian Standards 1158.3.1 of 1999 (Road lighting, Pedestrian area lighting, Performance and installation design requirements) and 4485.1. of 1997 (Security for Health Care Facilities).
These issues are just a few areas that relate to grounds of facilities. The internal building design will be discussed in the next issue.
Leon Harris CPP, is the principal consultant for Harris Crime Prevention Services.
Harris Crime Prevention Services provides on an occasional basis articles by other Industry experts, such as: How Airports apply designing out crime principles