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Crime Prevention (Urban Design)

Volume 592: debated on Monday 9 February 2015

15. What research her Department has undertaken on how architecture and urban design may assist crime prevention. (907503)

We have not conducted any recent research in this area, but a strong body of evidence shows how the design and build of our homes, schools and public places can prevent crime and antisocial behaviour.

We do not need research to tell us that—it is common sense. Without sounding too much like that most estimable man the Prince of Wales, may I urge the Home Office to do more to encourage new urbanist principles in urban design that are developing on the continent: walkability; high density, as in European cities and as opposed to urban sprawl; and modernist projects? All these ideas of involving the community in their community can only help to defeat crime.

I thank my hon. Friend, who is almost indistinguishable from the Prince of Wales. We have no current plans to conduct research on the impact of modern architecture and design on crime and antisocial behaviour, but we keep an open mind on all ideas. A Home Office-funded project published in 2010 looked at the crime experience of six contemporary housing schemes and its findings led to the development of valuable design principles on creating safe places to live for use by the police, architects and others. Anyone using their common sense when commissioning and designing a building would, obviously, wish to design out crime.

I have long held the hon. Member for Gainsborough (Sir Edward Leigh) in the highest esteem, but he will forgive me for saying that I had not previously noticed any particular resemblance.