Complete Parks Playbook 17 Protect Making Parks Safe Residents living in “greener” surroundings experience “lower levels of fear, fewer incivilities, less aggressive and violent behavior,” and fewer total crimes (including both property crimes and violent crimes). 5 Therefore, the absence of green surroundings, or nature deprivation, is not merely unhealthy; it is dangerous. 5 Unfortunately, many people, particularly in low-income communities, perceive their neighborhood parks to be unsafe. In fact, California teens who live in lower-income neighborhoods are less likely to live near a park they consider safe and less likely to be physically active than teens in higher-income neighborhoods. 4 Increased programming at parks — particularly supervised programming — “can make parks more secure and increase [public] use of these parks.” 4 Simply put, if a park is used regularly, it is less likely to be a harbor for criminal activity. To encourage residents to use a park, it is critical to install amenities and provide programming that the community wants. Certain architectural features and streetscapes can reduce criminals’ opportunity and temptation to commit crimes. This design technique is often called Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED), and it employs four basic strategies: natural surveillance, natural access control, territoriality, and maintenance. The first strategy, natural surveillance, involves keeping the environment maintained so that people can easily see and be seen by other users, staff, and anyone who may pass by the park, trail, or playground. Natural access control is focused on controlling a park’s points of entry and departure, using a fence or even a flower bed, for instance. The third strategy — territoriality — concerns reinforcements that distinguish between public and private spaces, such as signage, flower beds, or mowed areas. The idea is to show that someone owns and cares about a space. Maintenance, the fourth strategy, simply means that parks should always be maintained. Absent maintenance, a public area invites criminal behavior. Combining CPTED techniques with engaging programming is essential to creating safe, inviting parks and green spaces where people can play and be active. POTENTIAL POLICIES for making Parks safe • Maintenance Policy • People-Scale Lighting Policy • CPTED Policy • Tobacco Free Policy • Neighborhood-Based Programming