VOL. 3, NO. 1

Elderly individuals can be easy targets for robbers and muggers. As a result fearful residents, living in a poorly designed community, may restrict their lifestyle. The key. then. is for the architect to design elderly housing with security features that diminish those fears. Both security and design objectives can be met by simple low-cost modifications to ordinary designs.

IMPROVE THE SITE SELECTION PROCESS. Housing location has a dramatic impact on security. The more visibility within a community the fewer risks of attacks. The earlier an architect is involved in a project the more positively they can deal with security issues. In the case of elderly housing, security issues are very high.

INCREASE VISIBILITY . Optimum visibility is essential for resident safety and peace of mind. Residents like to lookout for each other it gives them a feeling of safety. Placement of activity areas within view of apartment windows allows residents this security. The architect and client can examine the building layout and take advantage of natural surveillance opportunities. Together they can decide whether surveillance should be obvious, which does deter crime, or whether surveillance should be less obtrusive.
Those areas that need particular attention include: entrances and exits. sidewalks, parking lots and activity areas.

IMPROVE BUILDING CONFIGURATION. Entry doors need to be visible from the parking lot. Back doors also need to be visible and free from obstructions. Trees, though attractive, provide hiding places for assailants. Improving exterior construction through window and door placement also reduces risk of attacks.
INCREASE INTERIOR SAFETY AND SECURITY. In 1980 safety features such as fire and smoke alarms and emergency call systems became the housing standard. The BOCA code of 1990 now requires all elderly and multifamily structures to have a fire sprinkler system. Circulation patterns are key for elderly protection. Corridors need to have visibility from many directions. The design should include sitting areas placed frequently throughout the facility. This allows residents to group themselves thereby inhibiting potential intruders. Security and safety design are maintained in each resident unit. Door viewers are essential and fire/smoke and emergency call systems should always be included in every elderly project design. Some facilities may want to offer high-tech electronic equipment such as television monitoring and an intercom system. Effective security design, in elderly projects, need not be complex. Design elements coordinated with security equipment and personnel can be the foundation of a strong security plan. Consult with your architect to determine your specific security needs and create a security plan that works.
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IMPROVE STREET LIGHTING AND SIDEWALK LAYOUT. Both architect and client can determine the type arid level of external lighting. Improving the lighting of the building, parking lot and general grounds area deters would be intruders. And, this safety feature allows residents to safely continue their normal nighttime activities. Sidewalk areas need to be out in the open and free from obstructions. Direct path- ways to and from designated areas are the most preferred.

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