Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Urban Dogs and Crime Prevention

The City of Calgary Animal & Bylaw Services will soon embark on a major initative to prevent crime by curbing seemingly minor incivilities, according to a Calgary Herald story published earlier this week.

Members of our research team are excited about the explicit mention of aggressive dogs in the Herald story, as an example of incivility. The fact is, people share urban space with dogs. Whether or not a person has a dog living in the home, the lives of city-dwellers everywhere are affected by the presence of dogs in our midst. Negative influences, like aggressive dogs, need to be curbed.

At the same time, positive influences should be recognized and amplified. A new study conducted in Victoria, British Columbia shows that dog-walkers tend to visit parks consistently - no matter the weather. While the emphasis in this study was on physical activity for owners, frequent dog-walkers could be helping to prevent crime in the meantime, by serving as "eyes on the street" in the way that Jane Jacobs made famous.

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