Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design
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- Last Updated: August 29, 2016 August 29, 2016
Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) studies ways to design physical spaces to reduce undesirable behavior and crime.
CPTED is a specialized field of study focusing on:
- A Physical Environment: This could be a building, a park, an office, a street, etc.
- Resulting Behavior of People: Some locations seem to inspire rowdy behavior; other locations encourage calmer behavior.
- Using Space More Effectively: How can the space be redesigned to encourage desirable behaviors and discourage undesirable behaviors?
- Crime/Loss Prevention: These tend to be byproducts of the redesign, rather than primary targets.
There are three basic approaches to crime prevention:
- Mechanical measures, also known as "target hardening," focus on hardware, such as locks or bars on windows and doors, fencing and security lights.
- Human or Organizational measures focus on teaching individuals and groups measures that they can take to protect themselves or to behave in a civil manner.
- Natural measures aim to redesign an overall environment so that it works better, and deters crime in the process. CPTED focuses on Natural measures.
CPTED looks at:
How well can you see what’s going on in an environment without having to take extra steps? For example, can you see out the window from where you sit at your desk? Can you see the parking lot without standing up? Do the lights in the parking lot blind you or cast large shadows? Would mirrors improve surveillance in a blind spot? Is shrubery overgrown and blocking a view?
Natural Access Control
How easily can intruders get in and out of your environment uncontrolled or undetected? Do they have to pass a registration desk? Show ID? Have a key? Do they have to use a shared entry, or can they slip in through numerous other doors, windows, gates or openings?
Does your environment reinforce a sense of who is in control? Gangs understand territorial behavior. That’s why they spray graffiti on walls -- to claim turf. We take it back by cleaning up the graffiti. Territoriality can also be reinforced by unique architectural features, signs, behaviors or uniforms.
Once CPTED strategies are in place are they maintained? Does your home show a sense of ownership? Are your shrubs pruned to 2' or less?
CPTED concepts also integrate well into the overall concepts of New Urban Planning in promoting the livability of our urban areas.
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