Alumni Spotlight: Laney Rupp, MPH, HBHE Alumni, 2016
The university corridor in Flint, Michigan is what Laney Rupp calls a "tipping point" for revitalization efforts in the town. Surrounded by academic institutions and medical centers, the corridor has the resources and capacity for an intervention Laney has been working on. Crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) is an intervention that aims to prevent crime and enhance communities by acting on the built environment. This intervention was designed by looking at criminology theory through a public health lens to enhance community engagement.
Through this model members of the community work together with their neighborhood to decrease blight, aka deteriorated condition, in this urban area. Blight includes vacant buildings, lack of recreational areas, crime, and overall a poor built environment.
The intervention follows two main steps. First is to secure and optimize the area then second is to mobilize the community with activities. This fosters a neighborhood feel where people care about each other and work together to better their community. Examples include, boarding up vacant homes, providing front door locks, creating a sense of ownership of the land through landscape and signage to deter crime.
Working with Marc Zimmerman, an HBHE professor, director of the Prevention Research Center at the University of Michigan, and the Principle Investigator of CPTED, and others, Laney developed a story map using GIS mapping methods to showcase and evaluate the intervention. She graduated from the University of Michigan's School of Public Health - Health Behavior and Health Education program in 2015. She says,
"HBHE gave me the skills to translate criminology theory into a public health perspective".
Laney attributes her interest in preventing crime through environmental design to her HBHE education and to her preparation for this project. Having taken Mark Zimmerman's research methods course as well as the youth violence prevention course, Laney felt prepared to be a project manager on this intervention. Specifically, she focused on the implementation evaluation piece of the project. The story map tracks physical and social changes resulting from the revitalization efforts as well as tell a story about how revitalization encourages neighborhood empowerment. The map is multipurpose. It serves as a tracking and evaluation tool for Laney and her team as well as a resource for others looking to implement this method in their communities.