When Vintage on Hastings, a store operated by Hospice North Hastings, was hit by shoplifters last summer, Hospice coordinator Heather Brough started speaking about the theft to other retailers in Bancroft. She was shocked by how widespread the issue was.
“When I went to buy a memory stick so I could send the store security footage to the OPP, the store I went into had also just been hit,” Brough said. “The more people I spoke with – the more I realized that this was a huge problem.”
So with a collaborative approach in mind, and encouragement from the local OPP detachment, Brough decided to see what could be done and on Nov. 29th, a free workshop on Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) will be offered at the Village Playhouse so that interested members of the community can learn how both big and small changes to the built environment can help reduce crime in our Town. There will also be a focus on what retailers can do if they think a crime is happening in their stores.
Sponsored by the Town of Bancroft, the CFDC of North and Central Hastings and South Algonquin and Hospice North Hastings, this half-day workshop will get everyone from shop-owners to municipal leaders thinking about how the space we create can impact human behaviours.
“It’s not about one store or one street – it’s about how we can all approach safety and crime prevention, as a community, from a whole new perspective,” Heather Brough explains. “This is why the event is free and why we want a packed theatre on November 29th.”
CPTED is an approach to design that suggests that effective use of the built environment can lead to a reduction in crime and fear while improving quality of life. And from ways to layout a retail store to an interactive walk through our downtown core, workshop participants will have lots of opportunities for learning and application of new ideas with the hope that more use of CPTED will improve the safety of our community, reduce loss and help to restore a feeling of wellbeing in our community.
Barry Horrobin has worked as a professional planner since 1988 and specializes in the field of environmental criminology, assessing the impact that the design, construction, and usage of built environments have on crime and disorder. Horrobin will lead the presentation on November 29th at the Bancroft Village Playhouse and he will be joined by Dr. Hugh C. Russell, a social psychologist who brings more than 40 years of community development experience that spans the globe. Dr. Russell’s work focuses on mobilizing communities to more effectively deal with their individual, social and criminal justice issues.
A life member of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, and Honourary Chief of Police in Peterborough with lots of local involvement in community safety planning, Dr. Russell was who Hospice North Hasting reached out to for assistance when a decision was made to empower the community.
“It was just so surprising that Hospice would be impacted by crime,” explains Heather Brough. “With the expertise of Barry Horrobin and Dr. Hugh Russell, we feel that we can get ahead of this trend and look at making important changes that will help improve safety in our community.”
The half-day session will start at 8:30 am with a detailed presentation from Barry Horrobin on how CPTED can be applied to Bancroft’s situational context, complete with several case examples from other jurisdictions to illustrate application and impact. After a morning break, at 11 am, participants will take a walk from the Playhouse down Hastings Street to observe what exists, point out strengths to work from and discover deficiencies that need addressing, and the group will also identify options for improvement.
“I envision the day to be one that is highly interactive and conducive to free participation from anyone attending,” Horrobin says. “By the end of the morning, everyone will ideally leave with the feeling they have gained something that they can meaningfully apply to improve safety and security.”
Dr. Russell is excited to participate with Horrobin during the event and says that he will offer a tie-in for a region-wide effort to be more planful about safety and wellbeing.
The workshop is free but participants do have to register in advance by contacting Hospice North Hastings at 613.32.8014 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.