Shining Light on Council Properties in East Melbourne
28 Council properties in East Melbourne are our focus for this case study – part of a series of case studies across the industries we specialise in – looking at what the security challenge was, and how we solved it.
Gaps in security practises were supporting unwanted behaviours at 28 locations across the properties of a local council in Eastern Melbourne. Here’s a snapshot of what we found.
We undertook a lighting and safety review to identify these gaps in the Council’s current security practices and processes. The review included 28 individual council properties, varying in size and scale, from their Civic Centre through to sports grounds and kindergartens.
The review took into account the building’s position and general layout, its location and the immediate neighbourhood, light levels and logical paths of travel to and from the properties.
Risks at each location were evaluated
- The performance of the light surrounding each community facility
- Any key issues that impact the real or perceived safety of users at night, such as lighting levels and vegetation
- The necessary recommendations to improve the lighting levels and perceptions of safety of each site including a priority site system
Principles from the “Crime Prevention through Environmental Design” (CPTED) <link to CPTED page> approach to security management underpinned the review.
The application of CPTED has been around for many decades and is widely used by security and law enforcement agencies across the world as a solid tool for crime prevention.
We provided recommendations for improving the environmental design, including lighting levels and natural foliage at various points around the property.
It is not uncommon to find council assets with doorways or building corners well illuminated but very little else. We recorded varying ‘lux levels’ (measurement for minimum light levels) around the properties.
This is an outdated philosophy that assumes that any security breaches will occur around the doors. Lighting placed at doorways or building corners can mitigate trips and falls when entering or exiting the building. Bu iit can accentuate shadows and create opportunities for concealment.
There was little to no lighting applied to much of the front yard of the property with the exception of the front entry where we registered a light level of 12 lux. There was a pathway that is accessible from the street that leads to this entry which was in total darkness. This is due to the level of trees and shrubs on the south west corner of the property.
The lack of lighting would be less of a concern if the foliage was maintained below 90cms in height, but it easily exceeded this, which could be used to conceal people from view. Remedial actions were required, such as
- Undertaking pruning and thinning of shrubs throughout the front yard of the property
- Improving lighting levels across the properties.