Improving Public Safety in Urban Apartment Dwellings

Security Concepts and Experimental Design for New York City Housing Authority Buildings

by W. B. Fairley, M. I. Liechenstein, A. F. Westin


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Techniques for improving security in New York City Housing Authority Buildings. The crime patterns in the housing projects are analyzed to determine the major threats against public safety. A theoretical analysis is undertaken to develop criteria for judging the effectiveness of arbitrary security systems. This served as a basis for grading the effectiveness of fifteen security alternatives that were synthesized from knowledge gained in criminality, security technology, and characteristics of the protected environment. These performance scores were then coupled with cost estimates to ascertain the most cost-effective candidates for implementation. To guide the evaluation of the alternatives, a number of considerations important to a sound statistical design of actual tests in projects are discussed and recommendations regarding experimental and control site selections are made. Special consideration is also given to the legal and civil liberties aspects of employing surveillance technology and to the role of interdisciplinary planning of new housing configured into a context which deprives the criminal offender of his present advantages.

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