Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

5Questions>with Officer Julie Williams

Five questions on crime prevention through environmental design

Did you know that a thorny bush can be a crime-fighting tool? So can brighter light bulbs and a taller hedge. Even a simple fence can thwart would-be burglars. Just ask Officer Julie Williams. As a member of the Largo Police Department's Problem Oriented Policing team, Williams has always been on the lookout to safeguard citizens. When she learned of a program targeting safety through environmental changes, she signed up. Now Williams has completed the state's Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design practitioner program and carries a new weapon aimed at deterring criminals without firing a shot. She is one of fewer than 100 Florida law enforcement officials who have completed the training, and earned a letter of commendation from Attorney General Bill McCollum.

1. What is Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)?

According to the National Crime Prevention Institute, CPTED is based on the premise that the proper design and effective use of the environment can reduce crime. Examples range from providing adequate nighttime lighting to constructing easy access sidewalks to building large windows with open blinds.

2. How did you become interested in CPTED?

"Community service and crime prevention is the Problem Oriented Policing Team's purpose," Williams said. "When I first became a member, I networked with officers in other agencies who knew about CPTED and had experienced nothing but positive results. I knew the training would make me more aware of safety issues."

3. Are CPTED methods effective?

Williams said she's seen them work. She and a team member described a mobile home park that had become crime-ridden. Officers made numerous intruder and prostitute arrests, but only after using the CPTED approach did residents see crime rates drop. The team suggested inexpensive changes, such as changing the lighting from 50- to 150-watt bulbs and erecting new signs. They also worked with residents and the city to build a rear gate and decrease the number of entrances to the park. With only two gates, officers could offer better surveillance.

4. How has completing the CPTED program made you a better officer?

"I'm a safer officer by leaps and bounds," Williams said. "I sell the program to the patrol officers and everyone I can. I look at things offensively and defensively, checking landscapes for safety issues and suggesting residents trim hedges, so they can see what's happening outside or that they place thorny plants outside windows to deter criminals."

5. Are you working on any new projects?

"We're working with Floral Gardens, a neighborhood off 36th Street Southeast and East Bay," Williams said. "We've re-initiated a neighborhood watch program. The area is evolving, so the neighborhood's gearing up with design changes like installing a no outlet sign and another needed stop sign."

Anticrime tips

CPTED methods

• In the front yard, use waist-level, picket-type fencing to control access.

• Use substantial, high, closed fencing between a back yard and a public alley.

• Use low, thorny bushes beneath ground level windows.

Five questions on crime prevention through environmental design 04/15/08 [Last modified: Thursday, April 17, 2008 10:03am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Drones restrictions coming at Tampa Bay area airports

    Airlines

    Starting Sept. 1, Tampa International Airport officials will be enforcing new height restrictions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems, according to a press release.

    In this February 2017 file photo, a drone flies in Hanworth Park in west London. Starting Sept. 1, Tampa International Airport officials will be enforcing new height restrictions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems,
[John Stillwell/PA via AP, File]
  2. Hit-run driver who refused to leave van threatened to shoot, Hillsborough deputies say

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Eddie Carly Colon Soto peeked his head out the broken side window of his van as a SWAT team closed in.

    The driver of this van tried to flee the scene of a crash in north Tampa Thursday morning until he could travel no farther, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said. Then he refused to leave the van and threatened sheriff's deputies, they said. [TONY MARRERO   |   Times]
  3. Get the latest Tampa Bay Buccaneers news delivered daily to your email inbox

    Bucs

    They narrowly missed the playoffs by thismuch.

    Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans (13) celebrates with quarterback Jameis Winston (3) after they connected for a touchdown during a win over the Seattle Seahawks in November in Tampa. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  4. Police release name of man found dead in north Tampa vacant lot

    Crime

    TAMPA — Authorities have released the name of a man found dead in a vacant lot in north Tampa on Tuesday and have confirmed his death is a homicide.

  5. Gov. Scott backs off boycott of companies doing business in Venezuela

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott will ask the Florida Cabinet next month to prohibit the state's investment managers from doing something they already do not do: invest in companies or securities owned or controlled by the Venezuelan government.

    Florida Governor Rick Scott interacts with people as he holds a Venezuelan Freedom Rally at El Arepazo 2 restaurant on July 10 in Miami. [Joe Raedle | Getty Images]