BackgroundFear of crime is as much a problem as crime itself and is an important policy issue in its own right. Fear of crime is often associated with fear for one’s personal safety, especially when alone and after dark. Fear of crime may keep people off the streets, and other public areas. It may thus constitute a barrier to participation in the public life of cities (Wekerle and Whitz-man, 1995:2-3). This observation is based on research in planned cities of industrialised countries, but can be assumed to be applicable also in unplanned areas in poor countries.In Dar es Salaam – the biggest city of Tanzania with an estimated 3 million inhabitants – the crime rate is growing, thereby increasing fear of using public space. In order to address this problem the Safer Cities project has been initiated. In March 2000 two studies were initiated in Dar es Salaam within the framework of this project. The studies usher some light on the experience of violence and crime, and the feeling of insecurity. 43% of the respondents stated that they had been victims of burglary between 1995 and 2000, while 32% stated that they had been mugged. 61% of the interviewed stated that they felt unsafe in their homes after dark (Robertshaw et al, 2000:13).The study further noted that burglary affects more people living in newly established suburbs compared to those living elsewhere in Dar es Salaam. Generally people with higher incomes and those owning houses are more at risk. In 78% of incidences victims reported that some-one was at home when the burglary was committed (Robertshaw et al, 2000:14).Crime prevention through environmental designCombating crime is often associated with increased policing, more severe punishment of cri-minals, social and educational programs, and programs for poverty eradication. In the last decades there has been an increasing interest in the potential of the built environment to con-tribute to crime prevention. In research and practical policies it is nowadays often recog-nised that the design of buildings, streets, parks and other public places can deter criminal activity and enhance urban safety. Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) has become a well-known concept for the design and management of urban space to reduce the incidence and fear of crime (Wekerle and Whitzman, 1995:12). CPTED invol-ves detailed situational analysis to identify local patterns and the micro-environmental con-ditions that might be creating opportunities for crime. Major factors for CPTED include clear divisions into private, semi-private, communal, semi-public and public space; a mixture of urban functions so that around-the-clock uses occur; design of neighbourhoods for clear overview and avoidance of dark corners, and grid-like communication patterns instead of tree-like urban structures with many dead end streets, which are used only by a few (New-man, 1974; du Plessis, 1999). There are two diametrically opposed approaches to CPTED. The one called “target harde-ning” implies fences, barbed wire, gated communities and privatisation of public spaces. The other one is based on the idea of planning a city so that people are present in communal and public places around the clock. The determining factor for design is to avoid dark, unseen spaces and adapt a grid structure rather than a tree-like structure. The two approa-ches are to a high degree excluding each other. High fences and gated communities contri-bute for instance to more fear outside the private realm, which in turn make people use com-munal and public spaces less, thereby reducing the chance for intervention when crimes occur (Newman, 1974; Coleman 1979; du Plessis, 1999).Oscar Newman’s defensible space theory and Coleman’s views on crime reduction strate-gies have gradually gained momentum among decision-makers and planners in USA and Western Europe. These theories can be assumed to be relevant to urban areas in poor count-ries as well, but in order to be fruitfully applied the local context has to be taken into conside-ration. The contextual factors can be assumed to comprise climatic and cultural aspects (influencing the use of outdoor space), ownership of land and real estate property, the role of local crafts-men and professionals, and the influence of planning legislation on urban development. No study with this focus has been done in Tanzania so far.Aim of studyThe aim of this research is to document the present tendency towards “target hardening” in Dar es Salaam and to investigate to what extent this tendency goes against the other approach to reduce crime by environmental design. The study intends to explore to what extent current CPTED theories are applicable in the Tanzanian context. On the basis of such an analysis attempts will be made to work out recommendations for house and neighbourhood types that prevent crime, and to introduce elements of CPTED thinking in physical planning.Research methodsIt is proposed that the research methods will comprise the following: a) Analysis of aerial photographs for tracing urban patterns where public spaces have high integration values (assumed to produce good crime prevention) versus tree-like struc-tures (where less overview is achieved). GIS may be used as a tools of analysing the spatial characteristics influencing the level of crime.b) Analysis of statistics on crime, including an assessment of its reliability and coverage. The frequency of burglary and other types of crime taking place in urban areas should be matched with the spatial patterns assumed to be related to crime prevention.c) Comparative studies may be made between high crime districts and low crime districts to establish factors influencing the crime.d) Collection and documentation of examples at the micro-level of designs determined by the two contradictory types of crime prevention. e) Interviews with key persons such as police officers, planners and mtaa leaders about frequency of crime, suitable actions to prevent crime, and about spaces that people tend to avoid for fear of crime.f) Interviews with a selection of residents who have carried out constructions because of fear of crime.g) Interviews with urban dwellers about their inclination to intervene in case of observing crime, and about the type of spaces they avoid in the city.