Can trees thwart thieves? Planners think maybe
SAN LEANDRO — Ever wonder how a plant strategically placed near a walkway or a fresh coat of paint could deter someone from stealing your car?
Planners with the city of San Leandro, Alameda County and BART have all been pondering this concept. And as part of a yearlong effort to study and improve the safety and security around the Bayfair station, they are looking to share their ideas with residents on how adding a few environmental touches to the area surrounding BART could make it a safer place in which to live, work and walk.
A workshop will be held July 15 to discuss the planning effort and to gather input from the public. A second workshop is expected to follow in the fall.
For years, BART riders and residents have complained about the lack of security around the Bayfair station, saying that crime and blight discourage people from taking public transit there and from walking through the surrounding neighborhood.
In response, planners have begun developing an improvement plan for the half-mile radius surrounding the BART station and are gradually upgrading the station's appearance, all part of a push to make way for a mixed-use transit village — and to increase ridership and foot traffic between BART and the mall across the way.
This latest effort, planners say, borrows ideas from the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design theory — coined in the 1970s by criminologist C. Ray Jeffery and made popular by architect Oscar Newman — which says the shape, design and appearance of a building play key roles in shaping human behavior.
In the case of Bayfair BART, this means planners are looking to design the station so that it creates the "appearance" of security — for example, beautifying the station underpass with a new sign, landscaping, fencing and lighting to deter potential criminals.
"Sometimes you can't always increase manpower or police presence," said BART planner Tim Chan. "So you've got to look at ... the physical environment to see how it all can come together to reduce crime."
This effort also could work toward improving overall traffic in the area, Chan added.
The July workshop will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Room 311B next to the Center Court at Bayfair Center, 15555 E. 14th St.. For more information, call 510-577-3458 or visit www.bart.gov/about/planning/bayfair.asp.