SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – South Carolina litter prevention organization, PalmettoPride, is hoping to make public spaces safer by offering a free class open to the public on how simple changes to your environment can decrease crime.

And class was in session today for some Spartanburg residents. The topic was crime prevention.

“There are three things that are necessary for crime, a victim, a willing offender and an environment that is conducive, that allows them to act and we’re not going to be able to change the criminal,” Esther Wagner, the Awareness and Education Coordinator for PalmettoPride said.

What you can change is the environment.

“Those that want to do inappropriate behavior are looking for a place where it’s clear no one cares, they can do whatever they want, a place that is littered, a place that is isolated where no one’s going to see what they do,” Wagner added. “We need to make it an environment that is not a safe environment for inappropriate behavior.”

By implementing environmental design strategies.

“A lot of crime prevention strategies are actually working against themselves, if you have a whole bunch of fences and cameras, CTV cameras up, it can give the impression that it’s a high crime area and it can prevent people from using the area the way you want to.”

PalmettoPride emphasized that the community can start simply by picking up trash, “we want to have well maintained areas, the areas cleaned up, the lights replaced, anything damaged replaced.”

The goal to make communities safer.

“So people feel like they are not isolated, that people will respond if (something happens), that they need help, and so it feels like it is a safe and comfortable place to be.”

Sending the message to criminals, that this area is being looked after.

“We can make ourselves committed to our community and we can make our environment a safer environment,” Wager said.

Claire Roussos, who participated in the training said she would like to see her community implement these ideas as the area continues to grow.

“I think everyone wants to reduce crime and make things more beautiful.” Roussos said. “We need to plan intentionally as we are moving forward.”

PalmettoPride says some strategies you can do at home includes:

  • Keeping your blinds slightly open to give the impression that the property is being watched
  • Keeping your landscape maintained so that it is not blocking any views.

Class was a two day event which concluded on Wednesday. PalmettoPride teaches these classes regularly throughout the state.