Sunday, July 31, 2022

Defund the police? Absurd! Re-fund and reframe? Absolutely!

State Capitol Building, South Dakota. The Law Enforcement Training Academy is a national leader in police instructor certification in problem-based learning.
Photo Travel South Dakota

GUEST BLOG: Gerard Cleveland is a school and youth violence prevention expert and an attorney based in Australia. He is co-author of Swift Pursuit: A Career Survival Guide for the Federal Officer. He is a frequent contributor to this blog, most recently regarding policing and drones


No one serious about public safety would advocate for the abolishment of our police agencies. We need them in times of emergency, as well as to investigate and solve community crime and disorder problems. However, we do need to have a serious discussion about what we want our police agencies to focus on in the next few decades.

Greg Saville and I just finished teaching a two-week problem-solving class called Problem-Based Learning for Police Educators at the Law Enforcement Training Academy in South Dakota with a wonderful group of dedicated and talented police and public service participants. Much of the course focused on ‘what next’ and we had senior police and sheriff executives, graduates from our previous classes, visit to tell us that as our communities change, so too must our public service agencies.

During all our training courses, we challenge police and community leaders to answer some key questions they will face in the years ahead, two of which include the metaverse and artificial intelligence.

The theoretical and futuristic cyberspace called the "metaverse" poses powerful challenges to policing


If you are serving in a public role – in any agency – what plans and training have you undertaken to deal with issues in the metaverse? As that virtual area of our lives grows and becomes part of our daily activities, what role will police need to take?  If you are not sure that you need to address this issue yet, consider how much catching up policing agencies had to do with the arrival of crime on the web – especially the dark web – only a few decades ago. We do not want to be in the same position of catching up with technology as the metaverse extends its reach into our daily lives.

As well, what does your team know about the enhanced capabilities of privately owned drones? Many of our class members had never considered that the new threat of crime may be delivered via mini drones to your neighbourhoods. Their experience with drones generally extended to using police drones to clear buildings or watch traffic patterns, but almost no planning had been done to deal with drones being used for nefarious purposes by criminals. Greg describes one of the high-crime hotspots where his team brought SafeGrowth programming but then learned that the neighbourhood gang used drones to monitor police patrols.


Finally, how does your agency plan to address the development and growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI)? While AI will provide positive support for us in so many ways in medicine, engineering, traffic control, predictive policing, and a multitude of other ways, how have you begun to prepare – as parts of Asia have, for AI attacks on our infrastructure, our computers and even the vehicles we drive and the machines we operate?  

If you find yourself scratching your head wondering, “what do I do next?” we have a suggestion. Firstly, form some small groups with your police and community members and investigate and discuss what you can expect in the next 10 years from the above developments. Secondly, and most importantly, train your people to be problem solvers and thinkers, not reactive, call responders.  

But that last sentence is much harder than it sounds. We’ve been trying to change police training for the past two decades with limited success. I suspect that unless we reframe and fund strategies to address future trends, our current model of warrior responder will suddenly be quite irrelevant except in limited circumstances in the late 2020s and beyond. 

Monday, July 25, 2022

Emonika - an outdated transport plan for a modern city

by Mateja Mihinjac

Public transportation hubs provide commuting assets to every city. That’s why it’s crucial that they are well thought-out and become well integrated into the city ecosystem. 

A key form of transport hub is the Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) - a new Smart Growth form of city planning used in many cities to improve the integration of central stations and connecting services, as well as to promote the connectivity of services to populated parts of cities.

I wrote about TODs in Vancouver and Greg wrote about the central corridor TOD in St Paul, Minnesota. The Slovenian capital city of Ljubljana could benefit greatly from these considerations to improve currently underwhelming public transportation options

I recently joined the Institute for Spatial Policies’ (IPOP) Jane’s Walk where the participants discussed the proposed redevelopment of the new central station and transportation hub in Ljubljana.


The beginnings of this project date back to 2002. In 2006, the first building plan was approved but followed several revisions the 2 public-private partnerships were dissolved in the process. The project was also put on hold due to historical archaeological findings dating back to Roman Ljubljana – Emona, and ensuing excavations on the site. 

Fast forward 20 years and in April this year, new plans were announced envisioning a mixed-use development with commercial and business facilities, large parking facilities, a hotel, and exclusive apartments. 

However, it appears as if the transportation hub is now of secondary importance to this project, which is also alluded to on the project’s website:

“…A modern development that will be a hub of activity. It offers retail and entertainment experiences, state-of-the-art workplaces, a welcoming hotel and long-stay apartments. It offers first-class connectivity together with modern, stylish, urban places to live. It’s the heart of the city where life happens. It’s Ljubljana’s urban forum.”

Unsurprisingly, the proposal was met with several criticisms. In one piece, Katarina Ċ½akelj of the Coalition for Sustainable Transport Politics questioned whether the project is still focused on the central station or whether it is a fiasco in the city centre.

We held similar discussions during the recent Jane’s Walk that I attended.  I heard concerns about insufficient time given to public consultations, problems with a large number of planned parking surfaces, and a lack of greenery which could worsen the heat island effect. 


The site envisions 1700 new parking places for motor vehicles, around 900 of these will be for visitors, and the remaining for business and office facilities. With the municipality’s intention of reducing car traffic and car dependency by 20% before 2027, this plan appears counterintuitive. One US report recognises that while there are numerous benefits of a transportation hub, we need to reduce reliance on cars and instead integrate those provisions with better public transportation services.


At the Jane’s Walk, one of the participants exclaimed “not another shopping mall!” Both the retail and business focus of the development at this prime location appear counter-intuitive. 

This new shopping venue might affect the existing retail in the city and independent shops thus leading to vacant storefronts. According to some sources, Slovenia has one of the highest square footage of retail space per capita in the EU. 

Additionally, as many have expressed the preference for working from home, future cities should be more focused on the provision of social infrastructure.


One point of contention concerns intermodality. For example, Ljubljana has no unified system under which one could use the same ticket for different modes of transport. The concept called ZMAJ proposes this much-needed change together with the development of Emonika. As well, realizing the UN-Habitat concept of a 15-minute city means that the plan needs micromobility and other flexible transportation options.


TODs are an integrative and sustainable way to build future cities, but Emonika needs to consider issues such as growing population, environmental, economic, and social sustainability, and futureproofing, not just commercial needs. Among the most important needs is the personal safety and security of the site. 

To my knowledge, these topics have not yet been explicitly discussed on any of the forums I was able to source. The developers should not neglect the potential CPTED-related topics such as after-hours safety and social activity at micro-locations. 

After 20 years of waiting the residents of Ljubljana deserve a transportation hub fit for purpose.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Social amnesia in CPTED? For goodness sakes, read the science!

With the 1996 formation of the International CPTED Association, and the newly
formed ICA Canadian chapter, CPTED is now a global phenomenon

by Gregory Saville

Happy birthday to Canada (July 1) and to the USA (July 4). Why mention this? Because the US, and to a lesser extent Canada, are the birthplace countries of CPTED – Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design.

Some say CPTED began with my old friend Professor C. Ray Jeffery’s 1971 CPTED book. Some credit Canadian-born architect Oscar Newman’s 1972 book on American architecture - Defensible Space. But CPTED truly began with American/Canadian journalist Jane Jacobs’ 1961 book about American planning – The Death and Life of Great American Cities

A decade after Jacobs’ book, CPTED began in Canada when it was presented at a University of Toronto criminology workshop in 1975. One criminologist at that event, Professor Gwyn Nettler, challenged CPTED to do the necessary scientific research to prove the theory. How, he asked, was it possible to do crime prevention with such poor quality social science of the 1970s? In other words, don’t just make stuff up. 

I first studied defensible space and CPTED at university in the late 1970s. Many years later I spoke to Lew Haines, director of the Westinghouse CPTED studies in the 1970s, and urban planner Richard Schneider who implemented CPTED planning in Hartford in the 1970s. Those were the first-ever tests of CPTED. They used a principle called “motive reinforcement” for community-building tactics. They did not describe target hardening as a CPTED principle. 

Target hardening, a legitimate tactic in technical security,
was never intended as a CPTED strategy

Eventually, traditional CPTED removed the social aspects of motive reinforcement from the theory. Traditional CPTED now includes target hardening, a concept Jeffery and Jacobs could not care one whit about.

In CPTED books of the 1990s, traditional CPTED bore little resemblance to what Jeffery was recommending at the beginning. The truth is so-called traditional CPTED is nothing like the social ecology and interdisciplinary model in Jeffery’s writing. THAT was his point at a keynote address at the 1998 ICA CPTED conference in Mississauga, Canada. 

Both social and human ecology have a long tradition in the social sciences
- Jeffery mentioned them in his theories

How can we know the difference in CPTED between fluff and the right stuff? Based on Nettler’s principles, and as Carl Sagan once said, here are some basic theory-building steps: 

  • go to the research; 
  • check the logic; and 
  • read original scientific publications.

Attempts to rewrite CPTED theory did not use these principles and ended up with ‘crime opportunity’ (aka, target hardening). Check the logic. Traditional CPTED – aka 1st Generation CPTED – became devoid of social factors. The largest bibliography on CPTED lists over 700 studies. For goodness sake, read at least some of the publications. 


That brings me to a recent blog of Tom McKay, a CPTED leader from Ontario. Tom is a former Peel Regional Police constable and he did CPTED duties after I retired from Peel Police having done the same thing. Tom is truly an exceptional fellow and went on to co-found CPTED Ontario. He was one of the original board members of the International CPTED Association. I have great respect for Tom McKay and his passion for CPTED.

Thus, it was with great disappointment I read a recent blog by him suggesting that both 2nd and 3rd Generation CPTED “run the real danger of confusing the utility of traditional concepts… and trivializing and or burying traditional concepts in an increasingly unwieldy model that bears little resemblance to the traditional CPTED flowchart”


Traditional CPTED, as it is now understood, was never promoted by C. Ray Jeffery. None of Jeffery’s ideas made it into the 1990s, only Newman’s. As criminologists Mateja Mihinjac and Danielle Reynald point out in a 2017 study, “contemporary CPTED is, owing to its practical  applicability, largely based upon Newman’s original conceptualization.”

That is what Jeffery was getting at. 

Originally intended for residential and mixed residential neighborhoods, today CPTED shows up in a wide range of urban environments such as parking lots

Tom recounts the opening address of C. Ray Jeffery at the Mississauga ICA CPTED conference. I was the one who brought Jeffery to that conference and published his remarks in the ICA Newsletter. I was teaching at Florida State University’s school of criminology and Professor Jeffery’s office was nearby. He was my colleague, my mentor, and my friend. I know his dictum that CPTED should “study crime in terms of the science of ecology and call for interdisciplinary research”. Jeffery’s point was that Newman’s defensible space (aka “traditional CPTED principles”) was the problem. 

In fact, 2nd and 3rd Generation CPTED were created to better align CPTED with the actual theory described by Jeffery. They are enhancements to the original theory and they are expansive and interdisciplinary – precisely what Jeffery was demanding. 


Second Generation CPTED has been around for two decades and has numerous scientific research studies published by members of the International CPTED Association.

Second Generation CPTED is neither new nor unproven. In fact it is now formally incorporated into the new ISO (International Standards Organization) CPTED standard, published worldwide last month, in part developed by members of the International CPTED Association. There is also the upcoming School CPTED Guidebook published by the ICA. It is the first formal document describing steps toward 1st, 2nd and 3rd Generation CPTED to prevent violence in schools. 

The ICA is about to publish another CPTED guidebook, this one on School Safety - the first ever to incorporate 1st, 2nd and 3rd Generation CPTED

You do not automatically do 2nd Generation CPTED if you teach 1st Generation CPTED “correctly” – an absurd idea I recently heard from a confused practitioner applying for CPTED certification. That is not how it works.

Second Generation CPTED builds on decades of research demonstrating some very precise principles such as social cohesion, community culture, and neighborhood capacity issues like blighted housing.

Tom cites an article by Sally Merry in her attempt to categorize early CPTED. Ironically, Merry bases her ideas partly on British criminologist R. Mawby. Unfortunately, Mawby makes the opposite conclusion to Merry. He criticized Defensible Space for its lack of attention to factors such as social class and income. In other words, traditional CPTED of that time, as now, was silent on the social ecology of a neighborhood. That is the point Jeffery made in Mississauga.

CPTED in this “traditional” form is NOT about the social fabric in a community. If social programs are intentionally incorporated into this form of CPTED training, they are done so in spite of this early writing, not because of it. 

With a few notable exceptions, social factors were washed out of early CPTED before the 1990s. In the so-called traditional CPTED, social fabric of crime is subsumed into fun-to-add artifacts of a CPTED program (neighborhood watch to enhance natural surveillance is not 2nd Generation CPTED). That is not the social ecology described by Jeffery.


Jacobs was about healthy neighborhoods – places where people had plenty of pro-social behaviors and fewer exposures to crime. She described the crime prevention power of such activities as “tree planting, traffic calming, and community events.”

Newman realized his mistake in describing Defensible Space in physical terms that downplayed social factors. He restated his theory in his 1980 book “Community of Interest”

Newman's 1980 attempt to redefine defensible space in Community of Interest

But by then the traditional CPTED die was cast. CPTED courses far and wide taught territorial and access controls, natural surveillance, target hardening, landscaping, lighting, and so on. Go and research CPTED lesson plans on Google (basic or “advanced”… no matter). See for yourself. 

As for 2nd Generation CPTED, that has been taught for over a decade. We’ve taught it to residents, police officers, urban designers, community groups, and many others – like those in a New Orleans high-crime neighborhood – and they love it. They do not find these models confusing or unwieldy. They find them logical, and scientific, and they get positive results. They use 1st Generation CPTED, but they no longer stop with physical modifications. They build the capacity of their neighborhood so they have some say in their own safety. We argue this is the kind of CPTED that addresses Jeffery’s true concepts. 

In the free marketplace of ideas, all are welcome. Let scientific methods, logic, and original research guide the way.

The creation, modification, and expansion of theory happens through
scientific examination, checking the logic and building on prior research 


A few years ago Mateja Mihinjac and I launched the most Jefferyesque version of CPTED since Mississauga – 3rd Generation CPTED. We spent years carefully examining the original CPTED theory. Mateja is completing her doctorate in CPTED and I have published prevention theories and studies for 35 years. We were careful to follow theory-building principles, and, true to Nettler and Sagan, our propositions and hypotheses aligned with the logic of theory-building and recent supporting research. We did not just make it up.

Third Generation CPTED is the newest kid on the theoretical CPTED block. Its scientific development is still underway. But make no mistake - there is already a significant body of evidence supporting 3rd Generation CPTED. It represents an exciting way to help our 21st Century city residents figure out how to build more inclusive, ethical, and sustainable communities as we grow into the future.

That is the Jeffery moment I am having.