A recent study conducted by John MacDonald, the chair of the Department of Criminology at the University of Pennsylvania, shows that mixed-use developments are actually safer than their single-use counterparts.
A neighborhood with lunch counters, offices, condos and bars is likely to have more “eyes on the street” at more times of day. And this collective surveillance ostensibly deters criminals.
A study conducted in eight high-crime areas of Los Angeles showed that commercial-only districts had the highest crime rates (45% higher than similar blocks including residences.) When residences were added to similar commercial districts studies found the crime rate to drop approximately 7%.
The authors can’t definitely account for why these trends occur, although it makes sense that people would feel a greater sense of ownership and care for neighborhoods where they live, relative to those neighborhoods where they simply shop or go to work. Put residences in an otherwise commercial area, and that sense of ownership increases alongside the eyes on the street.
The Waterfront will be a 26-acre redevelopment of a strictly industrial district alongside the Lehigh River. With a lively river walk, first floor retail and restaurants, residences lining the western side of the street and approximately 650,000 square feet on the eastern side of Waterfront Drive, developers believe crime rate should be reduced significantly. The project’s developers will also be working alongside the Allentown Police Department to maximize the safety efforts throughout the site.
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