Chief of Police
45 Center Street
Burlington, MA 01803
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Police from Nine Communities Participate in Unique School Safety and Crime Prevention Program
“Crime Prevention through Environmental Design” Reduces Opportunities for Crime to Occur at or near Schools
BURLINGTON — Police Chief Michael Kent is pleased to announce that officers from nine police departments in Massachusetts and New Hampshire recently completed a unique training program designed to prevent crime in and around schools, hosted by the Burlington Police Department.
The CPTED (Crime Prevention through Environmental Design) course uses architectural design, facility management, and activity strategies to reduce opportunities for crime to occur. It also aims to reduce fear in and around buildings and improve overall safety of schools.
The concept emphasizes the relationships between the physical environment, use of space, and the behavior of people.
“I am very pleased that the Burlington Police Department was afforded the opportunity to host this innovative crime reduction training course,” Chief Kent said. “Any time we can take measures to ensure safety in our schools, it is time well-spent.”
A total of 12 police officers from Burlington, Newton, Andover, Amesbury, Hingham, Whitman, West Bridgewater, and Newmarket N.H. attended. Also in attendance were four Boston-area architects specializing in design of school buildings from two firms: Design Partnership of Cambridge and HMFH Architects of Cambridge.
The 24-hour course and written assessment was developed and taught by Retired Sarasota, Fla. Police Captain Stan Carter of North Carolina-based Carter & Carter Associates, in conjunction with the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO), Locally, the program was organized by Burlington Police School Resource Officer Steve Cross.
The program looks at all aspects of the “build environment” and how it can be used to prevent opportunities for crime and violence. While there are considerations given to the prevention of very serious events, like violence on school grounds, the program puts significant focus on the day-to-day issues that, if overlooked, can literally open the door for more serious things to occur.
For example: The program encourages schools to give students, staff, and visitors a warm and welcoming arrival experience. Attention is paid to the “curb appeal” of the school and how the grounds and buildings are maintained. Administrators are urged to have a litter- and graffiti-free environment with appropriate, well-maintained landscaping, ease of access to both vehicle and pedestrian travel paths and clear lines of sight to and from primary entry points to buildings.
The idea is the more pleasant the arrival experience, the more positive people’s behavior becomes.
“It sounds like HGTV and to some degree it is, but our behaviors, whether we know it or not, are influenced by our surroundings,” Captain Carter said. “It boils down to taking care of the little things so they don’t become big things.”
The use of clear, visible signage around campuses is also important. Directions of where you should go, drive, walk, and park, help to keep movements orderly and clear sight-line. This helps those supervising activities to be more proactive in stopping problems before they become serious.
The course was conducted through cooperation among the Burlington Police Department and the Burlington School Department, the Burlington School Board, and the Administration of the Marshall Simonds Middle School. The attendees are now considered “Certified Practitioners in Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design” for school buildings through the National Association of School Resource Officers.