A CRIME expert in Huddersfield is spearheading a move to make homes much safer.
Leading the research behind the scheme is Dr Rachel Armitage, author of the research and Deputy Director of the Applied Criminology Centre at the University of Huddersfield.
She is working with housing developers who are aiming to out-smart criminals with their new build designs which are proven to deter crime.
Secured by Design (SBD), an initiative from the Association of Chief Police Officers, uses innovative architecture and materials to make criminals feel vulnerable.
The principles of the scheme, which includes designing pathways to prevent blind spots and laying out housing estates so residents can see their surroundings, has been applied to 380,000 new homes across the country.
Recent developments in Huddersfield which have been awarded the Secure By Design standard, include Rufford Road, Golcar and Poplar/Gelder Estate, Wakefield Road.
Dr Armitage said: “Physical security, such as windows and doors, is just one thing to look at in trying to create a safe environment.
“Secured by Design advises developers on how to give residents a high level of security and provide visual cues for them to take control, making them more likely to challenge and report inappropriate behaviour.
“Even the texture of the paved area into an estate can create a barrier which makes offenders feel unwelcome that they are going into a private area.
“There would also be no high walls, and front facing houses.
“Offenders feel more vulnerable, and although they may not realise why they feel less comfortable than in other environments it’s down to these subtle messages.”
The changes are not usually a cost which is passed on to those purchasing the properties with alterations to the plans costing as little as £200 for a four bed home.
Earlier research carried out in 2009 for West Yorkshire showed the crime levels in the designed areas were at a much lower rate.
The number of home burglary offences was 5.8 per 1000 properties in the SBD developments, compared to 22.7 within West Yorkshire as a whole – making the burglary rate 74.54 % higher in non SBD estates.
Alan McInnes, Secured by Design General Manager, said: “The right design, supporting effective home security, can minimise opportunities for criminals and the more these principles are adopted, the more we hope to see the number of burglaries fall both in West Yorkshire and across the UK.
“It is a crucial investment at the planning stage and helps to give people confidence in their communities”.