Redding police work to prevent crime through environmental design


REDDING, Calif. - A community struggle is shaping the conversation about downtown Redding. In the aftermath of a police chief being fired and citizens demanding the recall city council members over rising crime, a lot of crime reduction plans are being considered.

One of those crime prevention plans is through environmental design. It's not a new concept, but it can be effective, and the first steps of the environmental plan were taken Wednesday night.

Redding Police Cadets were going through the Redding promenade Wednesday, starting the process of surveying downtown for spots that could be improved in a number of ways.

"If we had a business downtown that had, let's say, a lot of transients hanging around, crimes being committed, we'll go out there to take a look at that building to see actually what's happening," said Captain Roger Moore "Could it be lighting? Could it be shrubs that need to be trimmed? Could it be a fence? Could it be something that we can partner with the business owners to achieve a result? And that ultimate result is to be safe and to prevent harm."

Lieutenant Brian Barner with the Redding Police Department noted that downtown is full of old buildings, with old and outdated lighting. All of which could be updated through Redding Electric Utility.

"We can then work with the business and refer them to Redding Electric Utility. We have several programs with rebates to use high-efficiency lighting, LED lighting, that businesses can use to leave on all night at low cost," said Lt. Barner.

Terri Moravec is a neighborhood watch volunteer who said that some ideas for homes can be translated to businesses.

"We've created a template that works for businesses just like it works for residential neighborhood watch. Smaller groups of businesses coming together, getting to know one another, isolating what their concerns are, and we try to fix what is fixable," said Moravec.

This is a precursor to "Light up Downtown" that will take place on July 11 from 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. It's an event sponsored by the Redding Chamber of Commerce. A five-person panel, which includes Captain Moore, Mayor Brent Weaver and an REU representative, will talk about crime prevention through environmental design.

Lt. Barner believes that such a program can make a real difference on crime.

"Lighting at night makes it safer for people. People feel safer, and criminals don't like light. They don't like to be in that environment. So the more we can light up at night, the better it is for the police department and crime prevention." Barner noted.

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