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Crime Prevention within Metro Systems

Article for The European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, vol. 4.4,
by Drs. Manuel J.J. López, Result Crime Management, december 1996

The international comparative study

When metro systems will be able to enter the new era of crime control depends on a number of factors. First of all, the available but scattered knowledge on effective crime prevention techniques must be collected and modelled into a newly integrated approach. The latest scientific knowledge on criminal opportunity must be pitted against the practical experiences of metro companies. Information on successful strategies must be gathered in different parts of the world and a scientific model must be developed. This scientific model must give insight into the best combination of prevention strategies within metro systems and their relationship with crime and criminal opportunity. But more important, the model must be translated into concrete and practical guidelines. A set of requirements must be developed that gives detailed information on how the (abstract) scientific criteria can be translated into concrete construction and management of the metro system. These guidelines must be internationally applicable, clearly formulated, and easy to implement. They must be useful for the construction and security organisation of new metro systems as well as for the improvement, reconstruction, extension, and reorganisation of existing metro systems.

To meet all these needs, an international comparative study was started on the relationship between criminal opportunity and the construction and management of metro systems.

Objectives of the international comparative research were:
· to gain insight into the factors that influence criminal opportunity in metro systems (theoretical relevance) and
· formulation of practical guidelines for the improvement of public safety in existing and future metro systems (practical relevance).

To achieve these objectives, a research design was chosen in which lessons are gained from the experiences of existing metro systems in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States. During a period of 21 months a total of twelve metro systems were visited, observed and photographed. These are the metro systems of Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei, New York, Washington D.C., São Paulo, Prague, Budapest, Amsterdam, London, and Paris. Existing documentation and crime statistics were collected and analyzed. Constructional aspects of the systems were photographed and studied on location. In six of the twelve metro systems, proper authorities were contacted and interviewed on their crime prevention approaches, problems, and experiences. These are the authorities from the metro systems of Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei, São Paulo, Amsterdam and London.

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