Effect of Architecture in Reducing Crimes: New York City (NYC) vs Oklahoma City

Paper Type:  Case study
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1422 Words
Date:  2022-03-09


The primary function of architectural work is designing of cities and rural areas in a way that there are no loopholes and opportunities for criminal acts. The strategic approaches exploited by architecture aims at preventing crime (Sutton, Cherney & White, 2013). While this achieved without designing and constructing actual fortress that may deteriorate the quality of life, especially in urban centres such as St. Louis Missouri, NYC's case was more of an intervention by the police department to mitigate insecurity issues. In what they termed as "engineering security," the approaches given by the police department was also tremendously diverse from the architecture's approach in St. Louis Missouri. In the latter's, architectural work addressed general security issues, and this encompassed the designing of the entire environment. However, the police's approach, in NYC, was more concerned with designing buildings with measures addressing the effects of terrorist attacks and providing data on their occurrences (Bloomberg, Kelly & Falkenrath, 2009).

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Designing Urban Villages

Robert Park developed the theory behind this architectural design. Park postulated that cities and areas inhabited by human beings are products of the physical components as well as human behaviour. In this manner, two aspects directly affect one another. In this case, designing cities and neighbourhoods of St. Louis Missouri leaving loopholes for crimes as well as hideouts for criminals is a contribution to an insecure city. The converse of it is true, and Park implies that physical proximity of individuals in an environment is trigger cooperation, integration, recognition, the establishment of morale, and this amounts to mutual protection among the members of such as the community (Gardiner, 1978). To this end, architectural work designs the environment to confer social integration directly, and in this manner, it indirectly exploits social cohesion to address criminal acts. For instance, when the social aspects of Missouri residents were left disorganized and disorderly, there was a high prevalence of crimes (Grant, 2015). The reason behind this is that a disorderly and disorganized physical environment enables criminal acts and criminals thrive, and whenever they get into action, they successfully terrorize the community and get away undetected.

On the contrary, organizing the environment in a way that there are social cohesion and mutual protection and inclusivity, criminals are easily detected, and their hideouts are also located hassle-free (Sutton, Cherney & White, 2013). The development of urban villages is facilitated strategically in that there is a design for pedestrian sidewalks, motorist passageways alongside other security apparatus such as proximity sensors to detect intrusion (Hopper, 2012). Again, there is an outline for the construction of natural and mechanical barriers such as walls and fences. Landscaping, however, plays a fundamental role in achieving this (Hopper, 2012).

Natural Surveillance for Crime

While the design and construction of St. Louis Missouri was influenced by episodes of street violence, crime, and other insecurity reasons, the engagement of the NYC's police department was also influenced by the need to establish a safe city. Missouri's primary target included incidences of theft, muggings as well as street robbery are down stopped. For instance, designing neighbourhood streets to urban centres where social amenities are located have been a source of insecurity nightmare. There have been episodes of carjackings, muggings as well as robberies arising from the fact that criminals from the streets find their way into such institutions. Worse still, the location of parking lots outside these institutions put workers and guests of these institutions at risk of attacks from criminals (Gardiner, 1978). Likewise, NYC's design aimed at addressing specific causes of security issues, particularly through the use of tall buildings (Bloomberg, Kelly & Falkenrath, 2009). Thus, whichever the case of insecurity, the designs used in the two cities addressed security issues at equal lengths.

An excellent example is the construction of a robust building that does not collapse progressively. Progressive collapse of constructions is a risk to city dwellers, especially where these are a high prevalence of collapse. Thus, architectural designs and planning of cities is the ultimate solution for safety issues, and this is because it is an all-rounded approach to security threats. This amounts to four effective ways through which the design of the environment solves crimes. One, redesigning street systems so that intruders from the streets have no easy access to such facilities. Two, development of transitional buffer zones between such facilities and residential areas by constructing items such as off-set street parking lots or playgrounds. Three, construction of robust buildings that do not collapse progressively. Lastly, ban parking lots, traditionally designed to serve hospital visitors and staff, adjacent to such institutions (Gardiner, 1978). These strategies enhance the perception of risk offenders and enhance the limiting access of the vulnerable and criminal targets by criminals (Hopper, 2012).

Crime Opportunity and Environmental Scale

While architectural work in NYC's construction was informed by identification of loopholes and other factors enhancing the city's vulnerability to security threats such as St. Louis Missouri's design is more concerned with solving the present security issues (Garrdiner, 1978). This informed the design and construction of the two cities, and this went down in distinct ways. In NYC's design, the city's police department focused on traditional sources of insecurity, and this informed their approach. For instance, the development of a plan enabling ease of access to most parts of the city, adoption of construction by use of fire-resistant materials, communication solutions as well as security strategies addressing chemical and radiological and biological weapons (Bloomberg, Kelly & Falkenrath, 2009). To this end, NYC's police narrowed down to measures addressing specific security issues. This is converse in St. Louis Missouri's case, and this is because the scope of the architectural work generally aims at preventing all forms of criminal acts. To this end, NYC's police department is seen to exploit the opportunity presented by the vulnerability of tall buildings within the city. This opportunity enables the police department to install apparatus and security measures that detect crime before they unfold and unrest them.


In most cases, environmental design and the physical layout is a significant security approach to crime in estates as well as cities. In pursuit of security measures, the architectures designing St. Louis Missouri and NYC use distinct approach. However, the approaches assure security to the residents of the two cities. for instance, the architectural design in St. Louis Missouri aims at addressing general security measures, and achieves this by general landscaping and plan. The case is quite different in NYC's case. In the latter's case, the police are involved, and they "engineer security" by providing unique construction design.


Gardiner, R. A. (1978). Design for safe neighbourhoods: The environmental security planning and design process. Department of Justice, Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, National Institute of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice. Washington D.C, 1978. Retrieved from https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/Digitization/50335NCJRS.pdf

Grant, H. (2015). Social Crime Prevention in the Developing World: Exploring the Role of Police in Crime Prevention. Cham: Springer International Publishing: Imprint: Springer, 2015. Retrieved from https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=FVyvBQAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=social+approach+to+reducing+crime&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwid87zvj5jhAhXs6OAKHfB2BNMQ6AEIRTAF#v=onepage&q=social%20approach%20to%20reducing%20crime&f=false

Hopper, L. J. (2012). Landscape architectural graphic standards. Hoboken, N.J. : John Wiley & Sons, 2012. Retrieved from https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=SDd7XcbP2ewC&pg=PA77&dq=architecture+developing+natural+surveillance+for+crime&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjzosCFk5jhAhWQnhQKHQNWCn4Q6AEIKDAA#v=onepage&q=architecture%20developing%20natural%20surveillance%20for%20crime&f=false

Pease, K., & Roach, J. (2013). Evolution and crime. Willan. Retrieved from https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=9x1clA97GlYC&pg=PA56&dq=how+conflict+among+individuals+and+groups+living+in+an+environment+trigger+crime&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwihuZSNn5jhAhVEAmMBHcaDC0cQ6AEILTAB#v=onepage&q=how%20conflict%20among%20individuals%20and%20groups%20living%20in%20an%20environment%20trigger%20crime&f=false

Sutton, A., Cherney, A., & White, R. (2013). Crime prevention: Principles, perspectives, and practices. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=pfI0AgAAQBAJ&pg=PA53&dq=Crime+Opportunity+and+Environmental+Scale&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjpx57tr5jhAhWz6uAKHbj8A4EQ6AEIUzAH#v=onepage&q=Crime%20Opportunity%20and%20Environmental%20Scale&f=false

Bloomberg, M. R., Kelly, R. W., & Falkenrath, R. A. (2009). Engineering Security. Protective Design for High-Risk Buildings. New York City Police Department, 105. Penguin Random House, 2009. Retrieved from https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/nypd/downloads/pdf/nypd_engineeringsecurity.pdf

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Effect of Architecture in Reducing Crimes: New York City (NYC) vs Oklahoma City. (2022, Mar 09). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/effect-of-architecture-in-reducing-crimes-new-york-city-nyc-vs-oklahoma-city

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