Crime prevention through environmental design


Preventing crime is not solely the job of locks on doors or security cameras scanning entranceways. The makeup of a physical environment can influence where crimes are committed.

That’s why Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is an essential component to the crime prevention strategy of any building or area.

“CPTED is based on the belief that crime can be directly related to the design of the physical environment,” says Harry Erickson, a consultant with CPTED Security Consultants. Based in California, Erickson works with governmental organizations and private companies to assess existing and planned properties and make environmental recommendations to make those properties safer.

When implemented properly, CPTED can reduce the likelihood that crime will occur by creating an environment in which a criminal feels uncomfortable or likely to be caught.

architectsIn addition to creating an environment in which criminals feel uncomfortable, the goal of these design principals is also to foster an environment in which law-abiding citizens do feel comfortable and secure.

CPTED has applications in all environments, including private businesses, homes, parks and neighborhoods. Schools can also be made safer through the application of CPTED guidelines, which can help to prevent crimes such as bullying.

So how can security technology and hardware help CPTED planners to do a better job?

“Locks and target hardening alone are not enough. But CPTED alone is not enough either,” says Erickson. “They need to be incorporated together. But they are definitely distinct individual components of a comprehensive plan. You have to incorporate the two and make sure they compliment each other and are not in conflict.”

Because CPTED is designed to blend in with the environment in which it is applied, it is ideal if target hardening devices do the same.

Read about seven essential components of CPTED and the entire article at ASSA ABLOY Future Lab.