Mix of activities
- A combination of different land uses, such as business and residential, as well as different activities will attract more people to a public space, for longer. Greater visitation means more people to keep an eye out for each other.
- The safety of retail strips and public transport hubs can be increased by providing spaces for additional activities such as cafes and newsstands. Alternatively, Wi-Fi hotspots and charging facilities can also serve this function.
- Temporary activities can also be great opportunities to activate an environment and increase opportunities for surveillance.
Clear visibility of the environment
Environmental obstructions can get in the way of people seeing others in public spaces. To make users feel safer, they should have clear views – also known as sightlines – of their surroundings, and objects that cut off visibility should be minimised.
- Make sure that landscaping and structures do not obscure visibility, especially in the following situations:
- around or on pedestrian and cycling routes
- at sharp corners and turns
- at building entrances
- around public facilities such as bus stops, and toilet blocks.
Auckland Transport requires that there is clear visibility between the height of 0.6m and 2.5m throughout public spaces (ATCOP 14.3.7), which breaks down to the following rules:
- The lowest branch of a tree can be no lower than 2.5m for areas with pedestrians and cyclists
- Landscaping must not exceed a height of 0.6m in its mature form
- There needs to be at least 0.6m of space between a kerb edge and any landscaping to allow for opening car doors, and vehicle overhangs.
- Walkways must be at least 1.8m wide, excluding any landscaping, seats, utilities, or additional components.
Any area not covered by Auckland Transport rules should provide clear sightlines between the height of 0.7m and 2.2m.
- Buildings near public spaces also have a role in increasing passive surveillance. Design to have windows facing areas such as streets or parks, particularly at ground level.
- Maximise doors, windows, and balconies on all levels of the front façade.
- Define boundaries between the building’s site and public spaces with appropriate planting or fencing.
Support with active surveillance
Passive surveillance should be the go-to in good design practice. However, there are instances when it is difficult to provide or maintain it effectively, in which case active surveillance can offer a viable solution. Places where people pass through frequently without pausing, such as public transport hubs, can benefit from active surveillance.
- Security personnel, including police, can provide extra protection during special occasions, such as festivals, or at vulnerable locations, such as banks.
- CCTV cameras are a useful tool at public transport hubs, where visitors are more transitory and do not stay long enough to provide effective passive surveillance.
- Carparks, rear, or service lanes, basements and other location where passive surveillance is difficult may also benefit from CCTV cameras.
- If entrances or common spaces in buildings are perceived as vulnerable spaces, CCTV cameras may also be used as an extra safety measure.
Although CCTV cameras can potentially deter offenders, they are mainly tools for crime detection or investigation rather than prevention. Rapid response to incidents is only possible if CCTV cameras are monitored live.