CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design)

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, also known as CPTED (pronounced sep-ted), introduces ways to deter crime by changing the design of buildings and public spaces. It involves simple, preventive steps that developers, architects, multi/mobile housing communities and individuals can take to reduce crime in their homes, businesses, and neighborhoods.
For example:
  • Housing units can be designed so as to allow neighbors to "self-patrol" their environments.
  • Lighting and landscaping may be enhanced in parking lots to improve visibility and feelings of safety.
  • Fences around housing developments can be designed in ways that avoid creating hiding places for criminals.
  • Signs can be removed from storefront windows to allow clear views in and out of the store.
  • Vines or planted coverings may be placed on walls to deter graffiti.
5 Basic CPTED Principles
There are 5 basic principles that guide CPTED:

  1. Natural Access Control: Natural access control guides how people enter and leave a space through the placement of entrances, exits, fences, landscaping and lighting. It can decrease opportunities for criminal activity by denying criminals access to potential targets and creating a perception of risk for would-be offenders.
  2. Natural Surveillance: Natural surveillance guides the placement of physical features such as windows, lighting and landscaping. These features affect how much can be seen by occupants and passersby. Potential criminals are unlikely to attempt a crime if they are at risk of being observed. Similarly, we are likely to feel safer when we can see and be seen.
  3. Territorial Reinforcement: Physical design can create an area of territorial influence that can be perceived by and may deter potential offenders. Examples include defined property lines and clear distinctions between private and public spaces. Territorial reinforcement can be created using landscaping, pavement designs, gateway treatments, signs and fences.
  4. Maintenance: A well maintained home, building or community park creates a sense of guardianship and helps deter criminals.
  5. Activity Support: Criminal acts can be discouraged in public spaces when we encourage activities in those spaces by residents, visitors and other legitimate users.
To view and print the full CPTED Booklet click here: CPTED- Design Out Crime

CPTED Quick Tips
While ideally all 5 principles should be considered when evaluating a property, there are 3 quick steps one can take to increase the security of their property.

These are known as the 3 "L's" of crime prevention; Locks, Lighting, and Landscaping. All of which are interrelated, and all of which are easy to replicate anywhere:
  1. Locks: Be sure you have proper locks on all your doors and windows. And keep them locked! Use anti-bumping deadbolt locks on all your doors. Keep the door between your house and the garage locked and lock your garage door at night. Don't forget to check all your locks before you go to bed each night.
  2. Lighting: Criminals love landscape lighting and dusk-to-dawn lighting. We recommend you install motion detector lighting on all your outside lights. This includes on all four sides of your home. Also install timers for the interior lights of your house. This makes your home look occupied even when you are not there.
  3. Landscaping: In addition to keeping your lawn cut and clears of clutter, remember the 3 Foot/10 Foot Rule. All of your bushes should be cut down to no higher than three feet and thinned out. This prevents criminals from hiding behind your bushes to surprise you. All your trees should be cut to hang no lower than ten feet from the ground. For example, CPTED recommends the planting of prickly vegetation below certain external windows. In this situation, the designer could choose flowering bougainvillea's, desert-style cactus plants, or any vegetation native to the particular region.

Residential Security Assessment

This assessment can be done on one’s own or by request with an expert to help identify possible security risks around their home and property and then learn what they can do to deter crime and increase their personal security.

You can access the form by clicking here.