CPTED Crime Prevention

photo: Mark Taylor

“CPTED is the proper design and effective use of the built environment which may lead to a reduction in the fear and incidence of crime, and an improvement of the quality of life.” – National Crime Prevention Institute

  • Commonly known as CPTED (pronounced “sep-ted”) is a pro-active crime prevention strategy utilized by planners, architects, police services, security professionals, and others.
  • CPTED surmises that the proper design and effective use of the built environment, can lead to a reduction in the incidence and fear of crime, thus improving the quality of life.
  • Emphasis is placed on the physical environment, productive use of space, and the behaviour of people in order to prevent opportunities of crime from occurring.
  • CPTED is common sense.
  • Applying CPTED starts by asking what is the designated purpose of the space, how is the space defined, and how well does the physical design support the intended function? Only then can effective design or problem solving begin.

The Four Strategies of CPTED

  1. Natural Surveillance – A design concept directed primarily at keeping intruders easily observable. Promoted by features that maximize visibility of people, parking areas, and building entrances: doors and windows that look out on to streets and parking areas, pedestrian-friendly sidewalks and streets, front porches, and adequate nighttime lighting.
  2. Territorial Reinforcement -Physical design can create or extend a sphere of influence. Those who live near and who access the building, then develop a sense of negativity towards crime; they develop a sense of territorial control.  Therefore, potential offenders who perceive this control, are discouraged. Territorial reinforcement is promoted by features that define property lines and distinguish private spaces from public spaces.  This is accomplished by using landscape plantings, pavement designs, gateway treatments, and “CPTED” fences.
  3. Natural Access Control – A design concept directed primarily at decreasing crime opportunity by denying access to high risk crime areas, and by creating a perception of risk in offenders. Natural access control is gained by designing streets, sidewalks, building entrances, and neighbourhood gateways that clearly indicate public routes and discourage access to private areas with structural elements.
  4. Target Hardening – Accomplished by features that prohibit entry or access: window locks, dead bolts for doors, interior door hinges.