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Neighbourhood Safety

What is Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design?

CPTED is the reduction of the opportunity for crime to occur and the increase in perceptions of safety in an area through the modification of the built environment and the management of space. The concept applies to both small-scale developments, such as convenience stores, walkways, and parking lots, to large-scale developments, such as new town centers, schoolyards, urban parks, and neighbourhoods. It can also be applied within buildings and in the areas surrounding them. CPTED principles are evolving as a key strategy to addressing City initiated designs of neighbourhoods, parks, buildings, and structures before they are built to ensure that safety is considered throughout the design and construction process. 

How is CPTED Applied in Saskatoon?
CPTED is a tool available to the City of Saskatoon that addresses crime prevention and citizens' perceptions of their safety in a holistic manner. Engaging residents, and other stakeholders, of the neighbourhood in safety related activities often leads to practical, effective, and sustainable solutions for safety related problems in neighbourhoods, parks and business districts. Through the Local Area Planning process and regular contact with other neighbourhoods, safety has been identified as a high priority. Neighbourhoods that have been involved include Pleasant Hill, Riversdale, King George, Sutherland, Caswell Hill, and Nutana.

In May 2008, City Council approved a Development Plan amendment that adds safety as a fundamental value in the City of Saskatoon’s Development Plan (Sec 2.1 clause f ) and embeds the principles of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) in a new section (3A.0). Formalizing safety as a “principle in building a community with a sustainable quality of life” in the City of Saskatoon Development Plan and adding the principles of CPTED as the tool to achieve this policy goal will ensure consistent, efficient, and effective application of CTPED within the community. 

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design Guidelines

Safe Growth and Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is a collaborative, multi-faceted approach to reducing opportunities for crime, improving community perceptions of safety, and strengthening community bonds. CPTED emphasizes the relationship between the immediate physical environment and the social behaviour related to crime. CPTED principles stem from the observed phenomenon that certain "cues" in the physical environment can prompt or prevent undesireable or crime related behaviours. Thoughtful design features, effective use of space, and community involvement  can lead to reduces opportunities for crime and a lessening of the fear of crime.

The City of Saskatoon has adopted and is applying the principles of CPTED, where appropriate, to ensure a process of safe growth in the city. The city has embedded safety as a fundamental value in the Official Community Plan (OCP) and identified a set of CPTED principles to achieve this. These principles are applied to most civic structures, facilities and developments. 

This new guidebook provides site-planning design advice for seven major categories of urban development commonly found throughout Saskatoon and is based on Safe Growth and the adopted principles of CPTED. This guidebook is aimed at developers and builders of all levels to help ensure safe growth across Saskatoon. 

Safety Sections of Local Area Plans

The princples of Safe Growth and CPTED are applied in safety sections of Local Area Plans (LAP). This a community-centered approach to crime and perception of safety. Community members with local knowledge and experience work with the City to develop strategies to reduce the opportunity for crime, and improve perception of safety. 

Community Support Program Pilot Project

Establishment of the Community Support Program (CSP) began with a request from City Council to expand Panhandling Bylaw No. 7850 around the liquor store in the Riversdale BID (RBID). The Panhandling Task Force was established to look at the issue and consult with stakeholders. The City Solicitor was also to offer a legal opinion on a number of options to amend the bylaw. In its March 22, 2011 report to the Administration and Finance Committee, the City Solicitor reported that:

It became clear that there are problems of ‘street safety’ (including, but not limited to, panhandling) in various areas of Saskatoon, although we are lacking good information on the  specifics in many cases; and there are programs in larger cities which combine enforcement measures and active outreach measures to deal with the issues Saskatoon is now experiencing.

During its December 5, 2011 meeting, City Council approved, in principle, the provision of five civilian uniformed Community Support Officers to patrol the Riversdale, Broadway, and Downtown BIDs for a two-year term to address immediate issues, based on the Street Activity Baseline Study 2011. City Council also approved the establishment of a Safe Streets Commission to address the long term issues of why people are on the streets in the first place.

The CSP is a hybrid that blends community outreach and bylaw enforcement. The program’s mission is to provide a safe and enjoyable street experience for everyone in the community. It is a total approach to community, safety, and health. The highly visible uniformed foot patrols reassure community members and businesses, and coordinates with community support organizations, and the Saskatoon Police Service (SPS).

2013 Street Activity Baseline Study Update

This research project was commissioned by the City of Saskatoon to update the Street Activity Baseline Study 2011, a base line study of street level activity in Saskatoon.

The objectives of the study were to examine:

Changes in perceptions since the 2011 study regarding safety and street activity in Saskatoon and the three Business Improvement Districts (BIDs): Downtown, Broadway, and Riversdale  Awareness levels and perceived impact of the Community Support Program (CSP). In order to meet these objectives, Insightrix Research employed several research methodologies including the following:

  • An online street activity and CSP perceptions study with Saskatoon residents 
  • Intercept interviews with the general public and businesses (owners, supervisors, and managers) in the three BIDs 
  • A focus group with residents of the Lighthouse Supported Living facility 
  • An online bulletin board with service providers 
  • In-depth interviews with the CSP Officers 

As with the 2011 study, it is important to note that this is a perception based study; meaning that each of the groups examined provided answers based on their own perceptions rather than established facts. Perceptions are important to know as they form the basis of residents’ beliefs regarding safety and the impact of the CSP in Saskatoon. Additionally, gaps between perception and reality can be identified in order for communication campaigns to be optimized accordingly.
The results of this study update provide a basis for future policy and program development.

The Street Activity Steering Committee has used the information in this report to craft a number of recommendations for City Council on the extension of the Community Support Program Pilot project.

2011 Street Activity Baseline Study 

This research project was commissioned by the City of Saskatoon to establish a baseline study of street level activity in Saskatoon.  The results of this study can be used to establish future programs needed to address the issues surrounding street activity that are experienced when there is significant growth in a city.  This report details the results of the study.  It provides a basis for future policy and program development, many of which likely spread across multiple levels of government.

The study included an on-line survey of Saskatoon residents (621) which matched the demographics of the city, a focus group and interviews with panhandlers, interviews with business owners/operators, intercept surveys with the public in the areas of concern, interviews with local social service providers, and research on what was happening in other municipalities in Canada and abroad.

Finally, this video was produced that includes a variety of “on the street” interviews and statistics from the report. The Panhandling Task Force has utilized the information in this report to craft a number of recommendations for City Council.

Street Activity Baseline Study