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Before sharing my thoughts, firstly, I would like to thank Sydney for a very interesting and insightful article. I am particularly intrigued by the notion that CPTED currently deflects crime as opposed to preventing it, but for this comment, I am hoping to raise an alternative issue that may be a catalyst for further conversation in the realm of CPTED. That topic is the psychological effects and subsequent criminal activity associated with driving within urban areas.

As of 2006, ‘Road Rage’ officially attained a medical diagnosis – ‘intermittent explosive disorder’1 (IED). Said to affect around 5-7% of drivers within America, IED registers at about sixteen-million sufferers, which in the United States charts higher than the likes of Schizophrenia and Bipolar disorder2.

In the United Kingdom, furthermore, it is believed eight in ten motorists are victims of road rage a year3, specifically at junctions, suggesting the modern world’s dependence on the automobile is coming at a psychological price. There is a direct correlation between driving and the individual’s profound lack of patience. Alluded to by Professor Frank Portnoy, technology is causing society to become less patient, and more reactive, believing that ‘not waiting is causing us to make worse decisions and be less focussed’4.

From this, a question I wish to raise is, with maximised glazing opportunity and eyes-on-the-street (the Jane Jacobs concept), how can CPTED expect to truly prevent crime in a society so entrenched in technology, that onset mental illness, including psychosis; care not for the presence of other people? With this question as a departure point, we can begin to fight the usual case of cycle-based-cities, as cycling is believed to be somewhat meditative and beneficial for mental detoxification5, but I believe the problem already runs deeper than a simple switch.

Car-based technology, however, is so deeply embedded within our current metropolitan culture that I question whether this is an issue that can only be remedied generationally. We all understand the environmental benefits to the reduction of driving, saving roughly 0.7 tons of CO2 per car, per year6, but a more patience infused lifestyle could mitigate such a large, ever-increasing diagnosis of IED and associated urban car-based crime.

Once again I would like to thank Sydney for the original posts, I feel it is a topic that has many conversational pathways, and hopefully, the questions I have raised could lead to a further discussion in the future.


References:

  1. Associated Press, ‘Road rage’ officially gets medical diagnosis’, (2006), <http://www.nbcnews.com/id/13152708/ns/health-mental_health/t/road-rage-gets-medical-diagnosis/#.XD9CM1z7SUk>
  2. Ibid.
  3. Express, ‘Road rage: this is how many people have fallen victim in the past year’, (2017), <https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/cars/811471/Road-rage-UK-driving-motorist-car-research>
  4. Bates, Daniel, ‘How modern technology made us lose our patience and drive us to make instant decisions’, (2012), <https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2186836/How-modern-technology-lose-patience.html>
  5. Graham-Dixon, Charles, ‘When I was anxious and depressed, cycling put me on the road to happiness’, (2017), <https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/18/anxiety-depression-cycling-cbt>
  6. Seeker, ‘What if Americans Stopped Driving For Just One Day?’, (2013), <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUECN7qAYQM>

School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509

Email: nicola.rutherford@ncl.ac.uk


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