Crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) has become a popular urban planning approach to preventing crime and mitigating fear of crime through the improvement of physical neighborhood environments. CPTED is widely used to improve deteriorated neighborhoods that suffer from crime. However, few studies have empirically examined the complex relationships among CPTED, fear of crime, and active living. Our study, therefore, investigated the effects of CPTED measures on walking frequency and fear of crime, analyzing behavioral data of residents living in participatory neighborhood regeneration areas and matched neighborhoods. We analyzed survey data from 12 neighborhoods that implemented CPTED approaches and 12 matched neighborhoods in Seoul, Korea, using structural equation modeling, which could consistently estimate complex direct and indirect relationships between a latent variable (fear of crime) and observable variables (CPTED measures and walking frequency). We designed the survey instrument as a smartphone app. Participants were recruited from 102 locations within the 24 selected neighborhoods; in total, 623 individuals returned surveys. The results revealed that sufficient closed-circuit television, street lighting, and maintenance played a significant role in mitigating fear of crime. This study has implications for planning and policy issues related to CPTED, mental health, and active living.
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