High security is now institutionalised by means of required security ‘standards’. How and why did this become contemporary orthodoxy? How far does it help to prevent crime and fear of crime? Are current policies part of the solution or part of the problem? We explore these questions here, drawing upon a small field study and other research.
We look first at the history of private security and theories of defensible space. Next, we set out the findings from field research in a London housing estate. We then examine the dynamics of high security and conclude by drawing out lessons for the prevention of harm.