Assessment of crime and safety issues in parks

Abstract: The aim of the thesis is to obtain a better understanding of the importance of parks for urban quality, particularly for safety. This is achieved in two ways; first, by assessing parks’ impact on the perceived quality of the urban environment (whether it is incorporated into housing prices or not) in Stockholm. Second, the study investigates whether safety in parks may be assessed using principles of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) using a high-crime park in Stockholm’s inner city. The thesis starts with an introduction to the theme, with a brief discussion of background theory, literature review, the study area and the methods. Then, it reports the results of the articles included in the thesis and discusses their main contributions to the field of research.A mixed methods approach utilizes both quantitative and qualitative data analysis. Regression models and a Geographic Information System (GIS) were used in Paper I, which aims to clarify how park proximity affects housing prices and, when considering residential properties and park type, how crime rates in parks affect housing prices. Findings show that the further away an apartment is located from a park, the higher the discount on its price effect, but this effect (dependent on the park type), as an accumulated measure of parks, lowers prices or is negligible. Paper II assesses the use and adequacy of CPTED principles to guide the assessment of safety conditions of an urban park. The historical development of CPTED is presented followed by an analysis of a case study, Tantolunden, in Stockholm. Site observations, crime mapping, people count and interviews were conducted. Results show many entrances in this particular park defy the principles of access control and in turn impose limitations on park maintenance. Findings also show that interrupted sight lines create limited surveillance. The paper concludes by identifying the potentialities and challenges of CPTED principles when applied to safety in parks.Findings presented in this thesis are relevant for many stakeholders in society as results show the variation in crime and safety in urban parks, and the way they can be assessed and tackled.