PSPD Hosts Crime Prevention Seminar To Combat Local Crime

Kamari Esquerra

The Palm Springs Police Department is ramping up its efforts to stop crime in Palm Springs and is asking the community to be a part of the initiative. In partnership with SafeGrowth Network, the department is hosting a two-part seminar focusing on new crime prevention strategies in downtown Palm Springs and beyond. 

“Really to find new concepts to make our communities more livable and safer for everyone who lives, works and visits Palm Springs,” said Lt. William Hutchinson, Palm Springs Police Department. 

The first seminar “Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design” kicked off on Wednesday and focused on how architectural layouts and urban design can help minimize crime opportunities.

“There’s two parts. There’s social crime prevention design and physical crime prevention design. The physical is talking about how criminals choose locations and why they target one area and not another area. That has to do with the layout, the lighting, the architecture and the engineering,” said Gregory Saville, a criminologist and member of SafeGrowth Network. “And the social piece is the criminologists who look at it and say ‘Here’s what we have to do to make a place more appealing and more tangible.’ Things like fixing up the area with flowers and better lighting and things like that to make an area more difficult to offend with impunity.” 

Dozens of residents attended the interactive seminar voicing their concerns about crime in their community they say heightened during the pandemic. 

“Part of the problem with prevention in the past is that police have been left by themselves to figure out how to do things. But many of these problems are deeper,” said Saville. They require social programs, they require mental health training, they require substance and things that the police don’t do. The community role is huge because the community can be set up as a team to create a plan and they can work with the police… much more powerful strategy.”

The initiative is the first step in moving toward an ongoing collaboration between the men and women in blue and the greater Palm Springs community. 

“It’s important for the viewers to understand that the police can’t do this alone,” Lt. Hutchinson. “We have to do this in partnership, in partnership with the city, in partnership with the business community and in partnership with our residents. As long as we’re all working together for the same goal, we’ll be able to make our communities more livable and far safer than they are today.” 

Day two of the crime prevention seminar will take place on Saturday, Oct. 22 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Palm Springs Police Department Training Center. 

The event is free and open to the public.

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