The inquiry reflects the state government's Safer Design Guidelines for Victoria - "the leading ‘designing out crime’ framework" on the basis of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) and embodying the following principles
1. Crime prevention is more effective when investing in a holistic approach to health, sustainability, community safety and ‘liveability’ rather than just law enforcement/ justice measures.
2. Safer design principles/CPTED needs to be implemented in conjunction with other crime prevention approaches.
3. Community capacity building and social capital are essential and integral aspects of addressing community safety issues in contemporary society.
4. In addressing crime prevention and community safety including safer design principles/ CPTED, evidence based strategies are essential.
5. A ‘one size fits all’ approach to applying safer design principles/CPTED does not address the specific issues, needs and requirements of individual local communities.
6. Effective crime prevention and community safety interventions including the use of safer design principles/CPTED measures require:
• An understanding of the causes and contributory factors leading to crime and antisocial behaviour
• Clear goals and vision that are directly linked to proposed strategies
• A unified service delivery model. Community safety interventions including the application of safer design principles are less effective when agencies and departments including those in local government authorities work in isolation from each other (silos)
• An applied commitment to evidence based practice research, evaluation, and performance measurement supported by up-to-date data
• A commitment to plan for the ‘long haul’. CPTED interventions including those based on the application of the Safer Design Guidelines for Victoria take time and will not result in ‘instant rewards’. Follow up, ongoing monitoring and evaluation of CPTED initiatives is crucial
• The empowerment and participation of local communities in decision making, such as through safer design/CPTED audits.
7. Effective crime prevention, including the use of safer design principles and CPTED, requires police to take a proactive community focused approach with regards to designing out crime, utilising specialist knowledge and training in this area.
8. Local government authorities are best placed to understand and reflect the particular needs and problems of their local community. This is largely due to the fact that most crime of immediate concern to communities is local (eg. property crime, antisocial behaviour, vandalism etc.) As such they are best placed to generate and deliver the most appropriate prevention interventions for their local communities including the application of the Safer Design Guidelines.Recommendations in the report are as follows -
R 1 The Committee supports the recommendation made by the Legislative Council Environment and Planning References Committee in the Inquiry into Environmental Design and Public Health in Victoria, Final Report, that the Victorian Government, recognising that the work of all government agencies influence health, safety and wellbeing, adopts a whole of government approach to health and safety.
R 2 The Committee recommends the establishment of a Safer Design Unit within the State Government’s Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) which would coordinate a holistic approach to planning and its relationship to health, community safety and crime prevention and wellbeing initiatives across government.
R 3 The Committee supports the recommendation of the Legislative Council Environment and Planning References (EPR) Committee in the Inquiry into Environmental Design and Public Health in Victoria, Final Report: ‘That the Victorian Government amends section 4(1) of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 to include “the promotion of environments that protect and encourage public health and wellbeing” (or similar wording) as an objective of planning in Victoria.’
R 4 The Committee supports the recommendation of the EPR Committee i‘That the Victorian Government amends section 12 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 to require planning authorities to conduct a Health Impact Assessment for key planning decisions, such as major urban developments or making or amending a planning scheme’. The Committee further recommends that: • A suitable and easy to use Health Impact Assessment tool be developed by the Department of Health and the Department of Planning & Community Development (DPCD), in consultation with the planning industry and local governments
R 5 The Committee recommends that Section 60 (IA) of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 be amended to include the words ‘including the effects and risk of crime’ as follows: ‘any significant social and economic effects of the use or development for which the application is made including the potential effects or risk of crime’.
Balancing regulation with non-prescriptive approaches
R 6a The Committee recommends that the Victoria Planning Provisions be amended to ensure local planning schemes throughout Victoria utilise the Safer Design Guidelines for Victoria as part of the decision making criteria when assessing large scale commercial, industrial and residential developments and/or when a proposed development is considered to be a potential crime risk.
R 6b The Committee recommends that the Victorian Planning Provisions be amended to require a formal crime risk assessment and/or CPTED audit to be conducted, if in the opinion of the local government authority responsible for the relevant planning scheme, a proposed development would create a significant risk of crime. In making such a decision the local government authority should seek the advice and assistance of the Victoria Police in assessing the application and/or conducting the audit/risk assessment.
R 7 The Committee recommends that the Victorian Government amends the State Planning Policy Framework within the Victoria Planning Provisions to include a policy on planning for health, safety, crime prevention and wellbeing.
R 8 The Committee recommends that the Victorian Government requires Precinct Structure Plans to include consideration of safer design principles and guidelines in new developments throughout Victoria. Precinct Structure Plans (PSPs) are important aspects of the planning system particularly for new communities in growth corridor areas.
R 9 The Committee recommends that the DPCD includes and prioritises the Safer Design Guidelines for Victoria as part of the ongoing Melbourne Metropolitan Strategy.
R 10 The Committee recommends that as part of the Melbourne Metropolitan Planning Strategy the DPCD, should undertake a technical review of the Safer Design Guidelines for Victoria.
R 11 The Committee further recommends that the Strategy provides for a review of the implementation of the Safer Design Guidelines for Victoria every five years.
R 12 The Committee recommends that the Victorian Government reviews the Urban Design Charter to: • strengthen the role and function of the Charter in guiding Victorian urban design • ensure that design objectives which promote health and wellbeing, community safety and crime prevention are included in the Charter.
R 13 The Committee recommends that the DPCD co-ordinate with local government authorities to develop strategies and protocols to engage relevant stakeholders at the outset of a development project that may have an impact on community safety and wellbeing.
R 14 The Committee recommends that the DPCD coordinate with local government authorities to develop protocols that will ensure that planners, developers and planning applicants liaise with local police on site-specific design issues, particularly those pertaining to community safety and design.
R 15 The Committee recommends that local government authorities devise appropriate processes to ensure that planning development applications which impact upon community safety seek the input of all relevant council staff including planners, urban designers, community safety officers, crime prevention and health promotion officers. Designing out crime, particularly at local level, is an approach that requires input from a variety of professional disciplines including planners, architects, urban designers and crime prevention or community safety officers.
R 16 The Committee recommends that all local government authorities develop local Safer Design Policies that take into account specific local circumstances and conditions in conjunction with their application of the Safer Design Guidelines for Victoria.
R 17 The Committee recommends that the DPCD in conjunction with the Crime Prevention Unit within the Department of Justice develop an accompanying plain English compendium to the Guidelines, inc case studies and practical assessment tools
R 18 The Committee recommends that the newly formed Safer Design Unit within the DPCD liaise with tertiary institutions and encourage the introduction of education on safer design and CPTED principles and practices as a comprehensive part of tertiary education courses, both undergraduate and postgraduate, in architecture, town planning, urban design, community development and other appropriate disciplines.
R 19 The Committee recommends that as part of any course introducing safer design and CPTED concepts and theory, students should be encouraged to undertake practical work in the field including observing relevant on-site developments.
R 20 The Committee recommends that the DPCD in conjunction with the Planning Institute of Australia (Victoria) investigate the feasibility of developing an accreditation system for safer design/CPTED practitioners.
R 21 The Committee recommends that the DPCD in association with the Planning Institute of Australia continue to offer and extend its training in the Safer Design Guidelines for Victoria and CPTED.
R 22 The Committee recommends that LGPro Local Government Professionals develop and conduct ongoing CPTED and safer design training for relevant members, particularly council planners, crime prevention, community safety and community development officers.
R 23 The Committee recommends that the Victorian Government provide resources for people with expertise in CPTED and safer design to train local government officers, planners and developers in the principles and application of CPTED and safer design.
R 24 The Committee recommends ongoing safer design training/CPTED programs for other professionals working in the area of the built environment including architects, landscape architects, landscape designers, urban designers and urban planners.
R 25 The Committee recommends that Victoria Police continue to provide training in the application of the Safer Design Guidelines for Victoria for local government officers, through their Safer Community Unit.
General education and information provision
R 26 The Committee recommends that all local government authorities provide on their websites a hyperlink to the Safer Design Guidelines for Victoria.
R 27 The Committee recommends that the DPCD in conjunction with relevant stakeholders and agencies introduce an award for exemplary developments that incorporate and promote safer design.
R 28 The Committee recommends that the DPCD develops a web based live resource hosted on a single site as a resource to promote the Safer Design Guidelines for Victoria and their application.
The need for research and evaluation
R 29 The Committee recommends that the Victorian Government, in partnership with universities, local government authorities and relevant stakeholders, commissions ongoing research to develop the evidence base with regard to Safer Design/CPTED and its relationship to community safety, health and wellbeing.
R 30 The Committee recommends that local government authorities in conjunction with developers, particularly those responsible for new housing estates, be encouraged to undertake regular resident surveys to gauge their perceptions of safety and wellbeing. The Committee believes that the provision of an independent statistics, data retrieval and research service such as BOCSAR is of great assistance to both police and local government not only in the area of safer design/CPTED but also in crime prevention generally. It repeats the call for a comparable unit to be developed in Victoria in order to inform practice with research based evidence.
R 31 The Committee recommends that such an independent crime statistics agency provide data and evidence to inform the development and implementation of crime prevention programs and initiatives including safer design/ CPTED audits and risk assessments and safer design/CPTED audits reports for planning permit applications.