Design as weapon to fight crime

POSTED: 11/27/12 2:05 PM

St. Maarten – Law enforcement officers started a 40-hour course yesterday at the Divi Little Bay Resort that focuses on crime prevention through environmental design.

Art Hushen, President of the American National Institute for Crime Prevention said that the solutions environmental design offers takes community policing to the next level.

Hushen showed at the beginning of the training what a difference a work of art makes to an environment: blank walls come to life with three dimensional images that create the impression that there is indeed a great building standing there, with people on the balcony, and windows overlooking the streets.

“It takes the power of the artist in a different direction, Hushen says. In St. Maarten the course will give community police officers and others in law enforcement ideas for lighting up environments that otherwise invite crime. A bright mural will make all the difference.

Hushen said that combating graffiti is obviously part of this approach.

Justice Minister Roland Duncan said that the initiative will contribute to the quality of life people experience in their environment. “The police are there to protect and serve. The net result must be a better quality of life. I would love to go back to the days when I was a kid and nobody had to lock his doors, because nothing would ever happen.”
Hushen said that St. Maarten ought to involve local artists, but also urban planners to work out practical ideas. “Reaching out to them is up to the local police force,” he said.

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