UCL Engineering Exchange


Ampthill Estate: community-led proposals for improving security

This student project will propose a number of interventions to Camden Council, to improve security for residents in a local estate.

Ampthill Estate tower blocks near Euston. Photo credit: Karen Blakeman, Flikr

20 May 2019

The problem

Ampthill Estate is a public housing complex within Somers Town in Camden. While a £20 million regeneration took place in 2005 where security was deemed a top priority, a variety of issues have been outlined by residents as negatively affecting their quality of life.

Fears of a lack of attention to estate security and a lack of improvements since then, have led to concerns from those who reside there as being a major threat to their safety. These security issues include drug dealing and gang activity. Outdated security and CCTV systems have exacerbated these problems and have, as a result, led to the involvement of UCL Engineering Exchange to ascertain how the security within the estate can be improved.

Our solution

The project is being undertaken by Siobhan McCrea, an MSc student in UCL's Department of Security and Crime Science, and her supervisor Dr Hervé Borrion. It will involve a collaborative report for Camden Council that will include security proposals that could be implemented within the area. These proposals will include an improvement in the number of CCTV cameras on the estate and the possibility of a CCTV hub that shall include other estates within Somers Town. A security patrol will also be proposed that will respond to low-level crime issues within the area.

To address the issues, the project team will start by conducting a public survey designed to gauge the residents' opinions of the crime issues at Ampthill Estate. A visual survey will then be conducted to map the current security architecture, assess its effectiveness and identify where improvement could be made to it. The outcome of work will be a short report outlining a range of possible modifications that might improve security and reduce fear of crime.