The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office hosted a three-day course this week designed to reduce the threat of criminal activity in neighborhoods and commercial areas.
Developed in the late 1960s and early ’70s, Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design relies on design elements to reduce crime, such as the placement of fences, lighting and entrance ways that control access.
The course, open to business groups, community leaders, members of civic organizations, and law enforcement members, was taught by Lt. Troy Fergueson of the sheriff’s office and held at Safety Town.
“The goal of the course would be for people to never look at their environment the same way again,” said Fergueson, who has taught the course throughout Florida and other states. To “not take subtleties for granted but learn how to use the built environment as well as the social environment around a community, around a neighborhood, around a business to control human behavior, (and) limit crime potential.”
“If you’re a business owner, it’s about reducing liability and increasing profitability. Those are all win-wins for our residents.”
In addition to ensuring shrubbery is properly trimmed or removed to eliminate hiding places for criminals, well-lighted neighborhoods provide a less likely playground for thieves, he said.
“You can’t place a dollar amount on this” course, Mario Grasso, field operations manger for the Oakstead community in Land O’ Lakes, said. “This is such pertinent information that will only benefit us, the residents, and the public in general.”