While we were busy shouting our lung’s hoarse for women’s security, the devil has found another target…… softer and even more precious.

It all started with security concerns for seniors more than a decade ago. Women were always at risk (it seems) but now they are defiant!! But children …… innocent and defenseless are the latest prey of an urban environment which is breeding and propagating crime.

Yes, the statement above is shocking, as it is revulsive. As an architect researching into the design relationship with ‘security and crime’, there is enough evidence and theory backing up this claim.

There are theories being practiced across the developed world that have established the link between an urban environment, its spatial quality and the incidence of crime therein. A casual analysis of our imminent surroundings and application of these inexpensive techniques spontaneously highlights where we are lacking.

And yet, we are not even looking. We are looking everywhere else, enhancing the security guards (known to be a threat themselves) and the mechanical devices (dependent on the manning at work) but not able to identify the contributory culprit. We are not aware of this relationship, neither are our designers nor the administrators.

It is really nobody’s fault because we all don’t know. The theories being practiced in the west since more than 40 years are not new to our psycho-social framework. Previously, they were steeped in our tradition, now we need to resurrect them. It’s high time we rescued our cities from the clutches of ‘crime’ and more importantly its underlying ‘terror’.

‘Secure by Design’ or CPTED (Crime prevention through environmental design) is one such technique found to be very effective, especially in the context of the kind of crimes our megacity is witnessing. Infact, in the US, these theories form the basis for regulations and guidelines for the design of schools, retail environments and other such public applications.

Though it may not be as well known in our country by this name, it is now included as part of the architectural curriculum at SPA. It has also recently been introduced at some conferences by the police departments across the country. The author (completing her doctorate in the ‘architectural integration of security’), believes that its knowledge and application in our urban environment can add metal to the city’s drive against these ghastly crimes.