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American Trails presented "Reducing Crime One Trail at a Time" as a part of the American Trails "Advancing Trails Webinar Series"



Reducing Crime One Trail at a Time

American Trails presented this Webinar on August 31, 2017. This webinar explored methods to enhancing trail security and safety perceptions through environmental design. This webinar was a concurrent session at the 2017 International Trails Symposium.



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The presenters are:

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CLOSED CAPTIONING: We are offering closed captioning for our webinars, thanks to a partnership with VITAC Corporation. If you are in need of this service, please email us prior to the webinar. An unedited transcript will be sent to all attendees following the webinar.



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Since trails are often community focal points, crime on the trail can be perceived differently than crime on the street—it may generate more attention that prevents or inhibits use on trails.

While studies have shown that trails themselves do not generate crime, in many urban areas, perceived safety is serious, and even the perception of trail safety creates a stigma for trails as a public facility. Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is a proactive crime fighting technique in which the proper design and effective use of the built environment can lead to a reduction in the fear of and incidents of crime.

Using a multi-disciplinary, multi-pronged approach to trail planning and design, law enforcement, landscape architects, city planners, and resident volunteers can create a climate of safety on trails. This session will explore methods to enhancing trail security and safety perceptions through environmental design.

Presenters will discuss tackling CPTED design strengths and challenges, using programs and partnerships, and the nuts and bolts of safety audits, corridor assessments, and design review.


Presenters for the Webinar:


photo of man with snowy tree

Brittain Storck

Brittain Storck, ASLA, PLA, CPD, Senior Associate at Alta Planning + Design.
Britt is a professional landscape architect with a background in natural resource-based recreation projects, greenway and trail design, and active community design and planning. Britt is Alta's trail expert and NICP CPTED professional. She manages an interdisciplinary team in Alta’s Atlanta office. During Britt’s 12 years in practice, she has managed projects across the nation and cultivated an instinctual understanding of the complexities associated with design of open spaces and public trails in all landscapes. She approaches her work with the belief that each project provides the opportunity for community to activate, transforming its health, stimulating its economy, and boosting overall quality of life of its people. Email:





photo of man with snowy tree

Jamie Rae Walker

Jamie Rae Walker, Ph.D
Jamie Rae Walker is an Assistant Professor at Texas A&M Extension. Jamie Rae Walker, Ph.D. has worked in community planning and implementation for over 17 years. She provides community technical assistance in evidence based planning. She has presented and facilitated over 150 sessions. Jamie’s professional involvement includes TRAPS, Extension Specialist Association and recipient of Center for Disease Control grant projects for improving access to physical activity amenities. Jamie was honored with the TRAPS Educator Award, AgriLife Superior Service Team Award and USDA Team Awards. Email:



  • Rail-Trails and Safe Communities: The Experience on 372 Trails Rails to Trails Conservancy & National Park Service 1998 Rails-Trails and Safe Communities, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (1998) - Comparison of crime statistics on and off trails (see Table 1)
  • Study: Cars in Prospect Park Means More Danger, Not Less Crime (2001), Transportation Alternatives - "Cars in the park means more danger, not less crime. Runners, walkers, cyclists or other park users are much more likely to see and deter a crime than a driver speeding past."
  • Crewe, K., 2001. Journal of Urban Design 6, 3:245-264. “Linear Parks and Urban Neighbourhoods [sic]: A Study of the Crime Impact of the Boston South-West Corridor.” Study examined crime along 5-mile greenway in Boston. No significant increase in crime was found for those living next to the corridor. In fact, there was less crime, as compared to houses bordering quiet commercial streets, and significantly less crime than for those buildings abutting a busy arterial street.
  • Univ. N. Carolina, Charlotte. 2005. Preliminary Assessment of Crime Risk along Greenways in Charlotte, NC 1994-2004. A systematic analysis of property crime on or adjacent to a greenway during a 4-year period within Mecklenburg County, NC. Data suggest that greenway-adjacent properties do not incur greater risk of crime than other properties within the same neighborhood statistical area. On the contrary, greenway-adjacent properties had lower crime rates 75 percent of the time and in one year 2001, greenways actually appeared to be safer than the broader community.
  • Greenways and Crime on Nearby Properties: An Investigation of Reported Crimes along Three Greenways, UNC Chapel Hill Master Thesis (2005) - "...although the Lower Booker Creek Trail did not increase the crime rate in the surrounding area, crime may have fallen more had the trail not been present. However, the examination of incidents occurring on the parcels within 150 meters of the trail does not support that conclusion. The proportion of incidents in the study area that this trail buffer captured decreased from 12 percent to 10 percent after the trail was completed (see Table 3), indicating that the crime rate for the buffer decreased even more than for the overall study area. " (p. 30)
  • Bucombe County Greenways and Trails Master Plan, Connect Bucombe (2012) - “The incidence of crime along the Mallard Creek Greenway and adjacent properties was nearly half that of the surrounding police district and only 12.7% of the countywide crime rate (1997 study). An extended study explored recent crime rates along all 14 greenways in Mecklenberg County between 2011 and 2003. The data suggest that greenway-adjacent properties do not incur greater risk of crime than other properties within the same neighborhood statistical area. On the contrary greenway-adjacent properties had lower crimes rates 75% of the time.”
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