Essay1 5A


During the first semester we were asked to write an essay on a chosen subject, using our new skills in secondary research. I chose to research into how alarm systems work and how they prevent crime. This then lead on to me researching how environmental design can prevent crime in shopping centres. For this assignment we have been asked to look back at our essay from semester one. Using our newly taught methods of primary research we were to investigate how we could improve our information on a theoretical basis. I will be looking into how I can further my research and improve my results. By using new primary researching skills, including interviewing, experimenting and observing to see if this could have made my work more valuable.

My essay from semester one focused on the different techniques used in Crime prevention through environmental design, (CPTED). Looking into what techniques were more effective in preventing crime and making shoppers and staff feel safe in these environments. After researching into this topic through reading books and articles relating to crime prevention in shopping stores, I discovered just how much work is put into preventing crime and all the different techniques used. This ranged from equipment systems to the simpler techniques such as basic store design. My first source of research was an article titled, 'Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) In Reducing Robberies.' written by Carri Casteel and Corinne Peek-Asa. This source of information helped me to see what different types of crime prevention factors are available but did not clearly show what is the most effective. Another source which I read was a book titled 'Crime and Security, Managing The Risk To Safe Shopping.' written by Adrian Beck and Andrew Willis. This source helped me to look in depth at two crime preventing techniques in particular CCTV and security guards. This book made me think how can I really tell which is the best type of crime prevention in these environments? Is there someone actually watching the CCTV in real time?, these articles both gave me an idea of the most effective methods, however I feel there can be further research carried out. Semester two has taught us new research methods which I feel can really help further my study. I feel there are more ways I could find out fresh and informative results of the pros and cons of crime prevention in shopping stores.

One technique which I could use, would be looking at photography. I think that I could look at a range of photographs from different stores progressing over time and see how they develop and what technology or security strategies they install over the years. It is likely the most effective ones will be added to majority of the stores showing me what they are. By taking photographs of the stores on a day-to-day basis would show which the busiest stores. I think by doing this it will help stem a lot of my questions. From the information I gather from this I could then carry out more research to help answer any questions I may come up with.

Leading on from this I could then go on to interviewing people. I think that interviewing a range of people would benefit by giving me a wide variety of personal and factual information. After interviewing people in the previous assignment I found that the interviewees were very informative and told me just what I needed to know, from asking the correct style of questions. For this, I would interview customers visiting shopping stores, staff working in the stores ranging from the cashiers to the security guards and also people making and selling the security systems. Asking them a variety of carefully worded questions suited to who they are and what their role is. I would make sure they were in a comfortable environment and by having a semi-structured style of interview I would have more of a conversation with the interviewee instead of question after question, creating a more relaxed atmosphere. By asking people from different communities it may help me to get a varied group of answers. I think this would help further my research, as it would give me a clear honest opinion showing me what the interviewees feel is the most effective from their varied perspectives. The range of interviewees and questions would give me a qualitative summary of this first hand information.

Another method of studying the crime prevention strategies in shopping centres may be by observation. By observing the different stores and shopping centres to see which are the safest and have the lowest crime rate. If I found out which stores had the lowest and which had the highest crime rates, I could go on to observe them and see exactly how they differed, and what systems they have installed or how many workers are employed. I would do this by watching people’s different reactions and behaviours towards the different crime prevention techniques in the stores. This would help me to see how people react to alarms and CCTV, compared with security guards and natural surveillance. Is there any difference in the way they react?, when do they look most comfortable? Even looking at the surroundings to see where cameras are situated or how many security officers are on duty, Are they obvious to the public? Also by observing the staff/ security officers themselves, how do they react to the public? Are they also on the look out and aware of everything that is going on? I think that this technique could really benefit me and help me to see myself what strategies of crime prevention are most successful in shopping stores.

These techniques I have acquired during the past semesters have really benefited my research skills. From learning both primary and secondary skills I am looking forward to researching new projects. I now feel confident using all the different techniques and feel this will really help my work in the future. It shows that I can acquire a range of results from many different sources, I find the primary sources much more interesting to carry out and to hear the results. To me the secondary research can be quite dated and I don’t find it as enjoyable, interacting with people is much more exciting for me. I feel by talking to people or watching them you can really get the answers you need. Although it is always good to get the secondary research as the statistics are helpful to back up your information. The techniques which I have been taught will help me to further my research. I can now see how design can tackle large global issues. I find it exciting that as a designer I can help tackle these issues affecting people and in the future would like to see myself putting my skills to good use.


Beck A, Willis A (1995) Crime and security - managing the risk to safe shopping, Palgrave Macmillan limited, Leicester.

Casteel C, Peek-Asa C (2000) Effectiveness of crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) in reducing robberies, Elsevier Inc, Los Angeles.

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