Safe Growth

We're working with several partners in the community to analyze a wealth of historic and current data on public safety and the quality of life in Asylum Hill. Our working hypothesis is that abandoned motor vehicles may predict future blight and crime hot spots.

The Basics

Our Safe Growth team, which was formed and trained with funding from Local Initiatives Support Corporation, has been working with Crime Prevention through Environmental Design techniques to identify and to mitigate crime hot spots in Asylum Hill. As we started using publicly available data from the City of Hartford, we saw potential for the historic data on crime, which goes back to 2005, to help us to predict future hot spots -- we could combine our extensive neighborhood memory to look at spots we knew were distressed at certain specific times in the past and then look at data from before and after the distress to see what was going on. When we added past NINA project sites into the mix, we had specific timing for blight -- and we immediately noticed that abandoned motor vehicles appeared in high numbers just before NINA acquired the properties. We are now exploring whether that is just a coincidence or whether it can help us to allocate tight resources, especially the time volunteers put into the neighborhood, more effectively.

Streetlight Survey

As part of our work on crime hot spots, we are conducted a comprehensive survey of all of the streetlights in the neighborhood. The primary goal of this effort is to find streetlight outages and to report them, but we hope to combine data on crime with data on streetlight location and wattage to determine the extent of any connection.

Street Sign Survey

As we conduct our survey of streetlights, we noticed that the condition of street signs is pretty bad. We've begun to record that so that we can get them replaced. We've also wondered what impact these signs have on the quality of life in the neighborhood: does a "Blockwatch Protected" sign have any effect? And what about parking restrictions? Do they help or hinder people from having cars in the neighborhood?

Did You Know?

Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) may have had its start right here in Asylum Hill! A study funded by the US Department of Justice was conducted by a local non-profit organization in the late 1970s, and it examined the local environment and how it affected crime rates. The study resulted in changes to some traffic patterns in the neighborhood, in particular the closure of Sargeant Street at Sigourney Street and the narrowing of the intersection at Huntington Street and Collins Street. Some people hold that this study is the beginning of CPTED and the national movement to standardize its use.

Project History