This article describes the different safety issues in neighborhood parks and pathways. The article begins by explaining how parks and pathways attract criminal activity. Thomas McKay, the police officer and a Crime Prevention Through Environment Design specialist in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, explained certain safety precautions that should be evaluated before choosing a pathway. He also describes how even lighting may not be enough to prevent criminal activity.
McKay includes two pictures for the reader to choose which one shows the safest environment.
The first option was an isolated path through a wooded area that is well-lit. The second picture was a lighted walk way by houses that. McKay explained that lighting alone does not make an area safe. Although the area in the first picture is well lit, the area is isolated and as a result, it does not make it a good safety choice. The second option with houses was considered to be the safest due to having lighting and that its close to possible witnesses.
It was not an isolated area. McKay did not say just having witnesses was the key to safety but being around others does beat being alone.
The author elaborated on some ideas to help reduce criminal activity such as having a high/low lighting system. This system should work for when a park is closing. The lights work as blinkers so people will know when to leave a park and head toward a more well lighted, less isolated place. The lights will eventually shut off completely.
This idea seems like a good one because if people see blinking lights in a park on a timer, it will force people to leave.
The last idea McKay described is how to brighten up playgrounds in the evenings. This is an interesting concept because playgrounds are typically used by children during the day. However, older people hang around playgrounds in the evening a lot and can lead to damage to the equipment. To reduce unwanted activity after those times the playgrounds are used by children, playgrounds will need to be visible with light but also be located in areas where residents and those passing by can see after day light is gone. Planned lighting a playground at all times provides the perfect situation for safety. It allows the average person to be able to visualize activities at the playground at all times. According to the article, these lighting ideas were a huge success and have been implemented in more playgrounds. McKay described the success of the installation of better lighting by three playgrounds in Mississauga, Ontario.