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Billings Chamber Proposes Better Building Design To Reduce Crime

The Billings Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual meeting September 24.
Billings Chamber of Commerce
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The Billings Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual meeting September 24.

Billings experienced a 75 percent increase in violent crime from 2012 to 2017. That increase prompted the Billings Chamber of Commerce to focus on public safety during its annual meeting Tuesday.

The Billings Chamber advocated for better building design as a way to reduce costly crimes of opportunity like robbery or graffiti.

Mark Johnson is one of three people in Montana and Wyoming certified by the National Institute of Crime Prevention in Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design practices.

“So those of you who do not know what CPTED is the four priciples are access control, natural surveillance, territorial reinforcement and maintenance," Johnson said.

About 300 business owners, community leaders and members of the Billings Police and Fire departments listened to Johnson’s presentation on CPTED.

Johnson used Riverstone Health Center as an example of a building that applied the CPTED principles by having a well lit parking lot and entrance, as well as maintained landscaping. Ironically, he used the Billings Chamber of Commerce as an example of a building that could use improvements, such as getting rid of blind spots created by a wall in the back of the building.

A study done by the Southern California Injury Prevention Research Center at UCLA found CPTED is an effective approach to reducing robbery.

Daniel Brooks with the Billings Chamber of Commerce is expected to receive national CPTED certification in order to help assess businesses in Billings by the end of the year.