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Gated Communities and Crime Prevention

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What is a Gated Community?
The term gated community is any enclosed or fenced-in residential  area or neighbourhood with controlled access. Gated communities in South Africa are also known as 1) fortified or gated enclaves, 2) enclosed neighbourhoods (these are existing neighbourhoods that are closed off through road closures) and 3) security villages (Security villages include different types of
private developments with various uses, ranging from small enclosed apartment buildings and townhouse complexes to large
office parks, shopping malls and luxury estates. Ref. Urban Fortresses. Karina Landman and Martin Schönteich. Gated communities in Brazil are called "condomínio fechado", and in Argentina "barrios privados".

In Fortress America: Gated Communities in the United States, we classify gated communities into three major categories.
First are the Lifestyle com-munities, where the gates provide security and separation for the leisure activities within. These in-
clude retirement communities and golf and country club leisure developments. Second are the Prestige communities, which lack the amenities of the Lifestyle communities, but where the gates still are valued as markers of distinction and status. The Lifestyle
and Prestige communities are developer-built, and primarily suburban. They range from the enclaves of the rich and famous to
the subdivisions of the working class.
The third category is the Security Zone, where trouble with crime or traffic and fear of outsiders are the most common motivations.
In these cases residents, not developers, install gates and fences to their previously open neighborhoods. While the image of the neighborhood that retrofits itself with gates or barricades is of the embattled moderate-income city community, such closures
occur in the inner city and in the suburbs, in neighborhoods of great wealth and in areas of great poverty. Gating is easily done in open private-street subdivisions. In neighborhoods with public streets, it is usually very controversial, as the streets must be taken over from the city before they can be gated off. Ref. Edward J. Blakely and Mary Gail Snyder

Ever wonder where townhouses originated?
They were essentially row houses built primarily in London, United Kingdom as the "in town" residence of the wealthy and aristocratic.
Most of the wealthy of that day lived in country estates but needed a city home when visiting for business or the social season.
Unlike Mississauga Townhouses the row town-houses of London were opulent, grand and massive in size built to house large families along with their entourage of servants.They were usually built on smaller lots with square footage divided between 3-4 floors.Grand staircases ascended to rooms with high ceilings and decorative mouldings.Today many of these townhouses have been converted into multiple apartments or "flats" as they are known in the United Kingdom. Info. John Lavin, a full time realtor.

In the U.S., gated neighbourhoods can be traced back to at least the 19th century. Tuxedo Park, a well-known enclave of man
sions and lush parkland an hour north of New York City, was begun in the 1880s. Llewellyn Park in West Orange, N.J., thought
to be the first planned gated community in the country, was founded in 1853. Thomas Edison, the Merck family and the Colgates
all had impressive homes there. Info. forbes.com

Advantages of living in Gated communities. Some of the benefits provided to the residents that live within them.
Peace and quiet.
Less noise and less trafic. Non residents can't simply drive through. Makes it safer for children and adults.
Security. Strictly controlled access, security walls, etc keep out people who don't belong there.
You can take a morning or an evening walk or just go jogging without feeling threatened.
It's always clean.
Increase property value.
Body corporates and residents take care of and maintain a high standard of living, home quality, pools, gardens, the environ-
ment, etc.
Children, women and seniors enjoy a safer environment.
People living in upmarket gated communities enjoy added amenities, such as shops, parks, playgrounds, clubhouses, golf
courses, etc
Well maintained and upmarket gated communities are free from urban decay, anti-social behaviour, ghettos, outside dangers
and disorder.

Many believe that gated communities are anti-social, isolated, elitist, very much removed from normal society and life and comfortable in their own safe environment. By cutting themselves off from broader society they undermine the ideals of an
open integrated society where everyone is equal.
Sayings and Quotes:
Some people think of gated as exclusive. Some think of it as security. But most think of privacy. Lynda Nugent Smith.
All gated communities have several things in common.
Some gated communities are doing better than others.
We deal with a lot of gated communities. The people moving there are neither racist, all caucasian or elitist. Most of them
are older, financially minded retirement age folks looking for a low yard maintenance, community activity oriented lifestyle.
Gated communities are just an extension of the white flight.
I do a lot of work in closed communities and I find them stifling, boring and dull.
The two extremes of a divided society - Gated communities for the rich and ghettos for the poor.
Gated communities, the golden ghettos.

A gated community offers the feeling of an exclusive lifestyle and added security, but how secure is it?
There are a number of reasons why so many people throughout the world and from all income groups prefer to live within the enclosures of a gated community. One is safety. People living behind high walls and tight security feel safer, but are they safer?
This argument remains controversial. A notion that living in a gated community somehow makes owners and tenants almost immune to being victims of crime, is wrong. In reality, gated communities can only provide a certain degree of protection against perpetrators by setting up video surveillance and closed circuit television (CCTV), security barriers, etc. These crime fighting features are not going to stop a determined perpetrator but they can greatly deter him. In any true gated community where tight security measures are implemented and properly maintained and guards are not corrupt or just lazy make crime far less likely to occur. Gated communities are in the fortunate position to implement even more sophisticated security measures.

Perpetrators go after the easier targets avoiding the gated communities.
A true gated community would be pretty safe, depending upon the residents themselves.

Defensive structures
These features (security gates and high walls, cameras, etc) translate into obstacles to hinder, delay, confront, frustrate, deter or discourage the potential perpetrator. The more obstacles can be placed in a perpetrator's way to overcome, the better. Perpetra-
tors usually look for easy targets with the least obstacles in the way. See. Why crime prevention?

       
Image 1) Devil's fork fencing (palisade fencing), razor barbed wire and a precast concrete wall with electrical fencing - a highly effective security barrier.
Image 2) Security gate, security survailance cameras and gatehouse or guardhouse.

Most perpetrators are lazy and don't want to go out of their way to rob someone. They will go for the easiest target.

Gated Communities and Crime prevention.
Why crime prevention?
It is to reduce the risk of being a victim and to remove or minimize criminal opportunities before an actually crime occurs. It also deters an individual from committing a crime.
As in the case of many private homes and businesses gated communities occasionally become targets of perpetrators. In South Africa gated enclaves are enclosed by high walls and electrical fencing added to the top of the wall preventing anyone from clim-
bing over it and to enhance security in general but it's just one way to prevent crime. Additional effective safety measures are required and need to be properly implemented and maintained to further enhance the safety and protection of residents as well
as properties.