Measure type: Removing means

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Removing means is the measure of reducing risk by reducing the availability of tools or other means conductive to crime.


A ladder can be an inviting tool for a burglar

Many forms of crime require tools or materials: burglars use tools to force entry, vandals will use objects to destroy, graffiti artist require spray paint or markers. By making the access to these required tools more difficult, committing the crimes is made more difficult.

This form of crime reduction is most prominently effective in situations where the required tools are available at or close to the crime location. Arson as a form of vandalism for instance, thrives on the presence of flammable goods and burglars can be greatly aided by the presence of a ladder. Making sure these goods are not present, or not accessible can therefore increase the effort needed to commit these crimes.


Some examples of removing (the access to) means, are:

  • Providing strict access control to debris-prone areas like construction/demolition sites
  • Placement of vandalism prone elements far from "hang-out" areas
  • Providing lockable sheds for storage of ladders and tools
  • Providing an in-house switch for external power sockets (which can otherwise be used by burglars to operate power tools)
  • Designing vandal-proof street furniture which can not be deconstructed into elements which can be used as tools for further vandalising.


Security issues where this measure can be effective and influenced by the urban planner, are:

Financial gain Boredom or compulsive behaviour Impulse Conflict in beliefs
Burglary{{#info:Burglary is the crime of illicitly entering a building with the intent to commit an offence, particularly (but not limited to) theft.}} Physical assault{{#info:Assault, is a crime which involves causing a victim to fear or to experience any type of violence, except for sexual violence}} Destruction by riots{{#info:Destruction by riots is the act of vandalism of property by organised groups for a shared rational or rationalised reason.}} Mass killing{{#info:Mass killing is the crime of purposely causing harm or death to a group of (unknown) people in order to make a statement or to influence the public opinion. This threat is exerted out of wilful action by fanatics: terrorists or criminal activists.}}
Ram-raiding{{#info:Ram raid is a particular technique for burglars to gain access to primarily commercial premises, by means of driving -usually stolen- vehicles into locked or closed entrances, exits or windows.}} Sexual assault{{#info:Sexual assault is assault of a sexual nature on another person, or any sexual act committed without consent}} Destruction of property by fanatics{{#info:Destruction by fanatics is the crime of purposely causing damage in order to make a statement or to influence the public opinion.}}
Pickpocketing{{#info:Pickpocketing is a form of theft that involves the stealing of valuables from a victim without their noticing the theft at the time. }} Vandalism{{#info:Vandalism is the act of wilful or malicious destruction, injury, disfigurement, or defacement of property without the consent of the owner or person having custody or control.}}
[Robbery{{#info:Robbery is the crime of taking or attempting to take something of value by force or threat of force or by putting the victim in fear. It is used her exclusively for acts committed to individual persons.}} Graffiti{{#info:Grafitti is the defacement of property by means of writing or drawings scribbled, scratched, or sprayed on a surface in a public place without the consent of the owner or person having custody or control. }}
Raid{{#info:Raid is the crime of taking or attempting to take something of value from a commercial venue by force or threat of force or by putting the victim in fear.}} Antisocial Behaviour{{#info:Antisocial behaviour is an accumulation category of relatively small crimes that highly influence the security perception of citizens. }}
Vehicle theft{{#info:Vehicle theft is the crime of theft, or attempt of theft of or from a motor vehicle (automobile, truck, bus, motorcycle, etc.).}}


General considerations

For this measure to be effectively used, one should have the means to control the access to materials required for committing the crime. This is most prominently the case if these materials are not already owned by the criminals, i.e., if the materials are available on location.

Although this measure relies for a large part on awareness and alertness of residents and municipal services, the urban planner can provide conditions that are either beneficial or detrimental to the removal of means. This is expressed in a well-considered mix and location of functions, such as not placing a glass bus stop in line of sight of a skateboard track, in design and placement of street furniture, and in designing structures in which an easy and effective access control can be maintained, such as providing sturdy and lockable storage space or harden the access to the rear of a residence.

Urban planning considerations

In urban planning terms, reducing the means which are conducive to crime can involve strategies such as the careful locating of public facilities (which are vulnerable to crime such as vandalism) away from crime generating land uses such as schools, entertainment facilities or bars. The placing of bins (which can be used as mobile platforms to gain entry to windows etc) or trees should be carefully considered to avoid creating unnecessary advantages for criminals.

Safety/security considerations

Some means that can be misused by offenders, serve a role in providing safety, such as fire escapes. Removing these should be done only after considering their effect on safety.

Social considerations

Economic considerations

Mobility considerations

Ethics considerations

Legal considerations

Footnotes and references