The role of urban planning and design in the prevention of crime in Kampala City: A Case study of Kabalagala Commercial District
Songole, Hillary Shiverenje
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The present-day crime prevention measures embraced in Uganda appear to be unsuccessful in averting crime. These approaches comprise of the criminal justice system (courts), formal/organized surveillance, social crime prevention approaches like community surveillance and to a slight extent urban planning interventions. However, the role of urban planning in crime prevention and counter terrorism has been conceptualized to mean extensive implementation of mechanical/electronic surveillance, proper development control and resource distribution. There seems to be diminutive comprehension of Environmental Security Design (ESD) concepts and its prospective as a probable crime prevention approach by Urban practitioners in Uganda. An exploration of these concepts may aid in casting light on how ESD may be used for crime prevention within Kabalagala commercial business district. Therefore, this study sought to evaluate the existing public spaces in Kabalagala commercial district using standards stipulated by the defensible spaces concept; to examine how ESD principles can be used to deter crime and make public spaces in Kabalagala more defensible/less prone to crime and to explore the relationship between property crime and Environmental Security Design concepts with the probable contribution to the role which urban planning and design can play in mitigating Urban crime. This research also briefly explored how Counter Terrorism (CT) design can be used in deterring terrorism. This study primarily employed a qualitative research methodology (i.e. exploratory, and descriptive) backed up by relevant quantitative insight and chiefly utilized survey data and descriptive statistics collected by checklists and questionnaires. Analysis of the findings using the Spearman’s test of correlation revealed that increased street lighting was positively correlated to a decline in crime along Gaba street and unexpectedly correlated to amplified crime prevalence along Muyenga street. Further analysis also revealed a positive correlation between entertainment hot-spots and crime prevalence in crowded public places. Based on the findings, the study primarily recommends that developing a framework with which to guide the adoption of mechanical/electronic surveillance based on contextual variations might guarantee efficacy of the mechanical/electronic interventions. The study also finds the regulation of entertainment hot spots to be critical in crime prevention within Kabalagala.