The Effects of Neighborhood Conditions on Perceptions of Safety

This research investigated the relationship between neighborhood conditions and residents’ expressed perceptions of safety. Previous studies had indicated that neighborhood conditions helped shape attitudes concerning neighborhood crime, but had relied on subjective measures of those conditions. The present study analyzed the relative contribution of subjective and objective indicators of local conditions to the overall assessment of safety in a sample of 305. Housing conditions were assessed using a standardized rating system. The investigation found that housing and neighborhood quality had an impact on satisfaction with the local physical environment and perceptions of safety. Victimization also had an impact on these two variables, but contrary to expectations had no significant impact on satisfaction with people in the local environment when controlling for housing quality.

The Anatomy of the Safe and Social Suburb: An Exploratory Study of the Built Environment, Social Capital and Residents’ Perceptions of Safety

This study explored the relationship between social capital and aspects of the built environment, focusing in particular on the walkability of suburbs as determined by street network design and the mix of land uses. We measured social capital and feelings of personal safety in 335 residents of three suburbs in metropolitan Perth, WA, and collected objective and perceived data on the built environment. After adjustment for demographic factors, the built environment was found to have a significant but small effect on social capital and feelings of safety, particularly in relation to the number and perceived adequacy of destinations. A high level of neighbourhood upkeep was associated with both higher social capital and feelings of safety.

Partnering to Build Out of Crime: HomeSight and the Seattle Police Department

Community developers, policymakers and law enforcement agencies will be interested to learn how HomeSight, a CDC, integrated safety work to harness a greater investment of resources for neighborhood revitalization. This case study examines how HomeSight collaborated with the Seattle Police Department and home and business owners to build its way out of crime.

Orchard Gardens/Commons Public Safety Committee

The Orchard Gardens/Commons Public Safety Committee is a highly networked crime watch. The Orchard Gardens Resident Association initiated the group at a community meeting convened to address growing area crime. Once a haven for drug dealing, the Orchard Gardens development was transformed by a $60 million HOPE VI renovation in the late 1990s. By 2003, crime was rising again, as drug dealing and prostitution in surrounding neighborhoods filtered into the development, and as incarcerated gang members began to exit the prison system and returned to the neighborhood. In response, the Public Safety Committee’s strategy has been to identify priority issues with the police and to lobby city agencies as a coalition to bring about needed changes in crime enforcement and the physical environment, thereby encouraging broader economic redevelopment. Madison Park Development Corporation heads the Public Safety Committee while serving as the lead area developer, revitalizing Orchard Gardens, renovating vacant commercial properties, bringing in new businesses and building new housing.