Poor practices in urban planning and design are putting residents of Australian cities at a higher risk of conflict and crime than need be, an expert has warned.
Australian Institute of Criminology director Adam Tomison believes that, though crimes rates are coming down, poor planning in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane could be fuelling higher levels of crime than would otherwise be the case.
Tomison says increasing densities within cities has the potential to create more minor conflicts and disputes, which could develop into more instances of crime.
Such a phenomenon, he says, is especially the case in fringe suburbs that are cut off from public transport.
“You have communities living shoulder to elbow, and there’s less room to breathe and for communities to relax and move away from disputes that exacerbate conflicts,” Tomison is quoted as saying in a report on Australian Associated Press. “There is less land to play on, more flats, and more people being put on the same space”.
Speaking outside a safety conference in Sydney on Monday, head of the United Nations’ Safer Cities program Juma Assiago says discussions about crime prevention should include conversations about housing, environment and engineering departments. Assiago adds that Australia needs to have a long and hard think about the intensification of cities and its potential impact on crime.
“Most governments [around the world] have a strong focus on military policy and security in crime prevention,” Assiago says. “We are trying to encourage them to move away from that by focusing on safety instead.”