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The regeneration of Turristown was a programme for the economic, social and physical renewal of a suburban town in the north-west of Dublin, which began in 1997 and which remains on-going to this date. The area of Turristown is one which has been blighted by socioeconomic and physical deprivation since its establishment in the late 1960s, and the regeneration programme was therefore formulated to provide much needed housing, social services and economic investment to the area. This study sought to assess the impact of this urban regeneration on security and safety as perceived by the suppliers and consumers of security and safety in Turristown. The research was of a qualitative nature; semi-structured interviews were conducted with those involved in the planning and implementation of the redevelopment, with the suppliers of security and safety in the town, namely An Garda Síochána and Dublin City Council, and with the consumers of public safety made up of business owners, the local authority and local agencies. Furthermore, the study sought to examine the nature of partnership in respect of urban regeneration programmes to establish whether the inter-agency approach to crime prevention and social development was a worthwhile endeavour.
The research established that there were definite safety and security benefits to regenerating a deprived urban area, and this was confirmed from the perspective of both the suppliers and consumers of public safety. An Garda Síochána and Dublin City Council are better able to provide clean, safe and secure environments for those working and living in Turristown as a result of specific physical and social changes made to the area. Furthermore, consumers of public safety also feel more secure and are less affected by crime. However, the study shows that harder situational crime prevention measures such as CCTV proliferation and newer, more secure buildings are not the only explanations for this phenomenon; increased footfall, natural surveillance, and improved community spirit all contribute to a feeling of safety and have an effect on the level of criminal opportunity in an area.
The regeneration project did cause some unforeseen issues, particularly in respect of empty tower blocks which became crime attractors, and from the increased availability of alcohol which occurred as a result of the establishment of a number of premises with off-sales facilities. Design issues also led to problems in maintaining the new housing developments and public areas from the perspective of Dublin City Council.
The partnership approach to urban regeneration appears to have been a success and has enriched inter-agency relations in the town, thus improving the ability of agencies to provide safety and security to local residents and to those working in the town. However, a number of concerns were raised in respect of the partnership process, particularly around the representation afforded to local residents and on some of the non-housing decisions made by the Turristown Regeneration Company which affected local residents acutely.
It is anticipated that this study will add depth to both situational crime prevention and community safety research already carried out in this jurisdiction. Furthermore, the research may inform policy relating to subsequent proposed regeneration programmes to be undertaken in this country and to the nature of inter-agency partnership schemes.
Grant, Jonathan: Regenerating Out Crime - The Impact of an Urban Regeneration Programme on Safety and Security in a Dublin Suburb. Dublin, DIT, September 2012