Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)

April 22, 2021

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is a set of principles around property design to deter criminal activity. The goal of CPTED is to reduce the opportunities for crime to occur. These strategies help to make it undesirable or more difficult, leading criminals to choose other locations to commit crime. As you look at renovating or landscaping your property this Spring, be sure to implement these principles in order to increase safety and deter criminals.

When considering landscape changes, consider Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). As a set of design principles meant to reduce crime through the design of a physical environment. The purpose of CPTED is to make your property less appealing to criminals. These principles can be applied to homes or businesses. Awareness is an important part of crime prevention. Protecting Alberta’s rural communities is a collective responsibility. Together, with local RCMP detachments, we create strong awareness and a presence of the law to help reduce crime.

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design Tips (CPTED)

  • Visibility through increased lighting is a deterrent for criminals. It is worth installing LED or motion sensor lights in dark corners or key areas around your property.
  • Good surveillance includes having clear sightlines from inside your house to the curb or edge of your property as well as through trimmed trees and foliage.
  • Keeping doors and windows locked is good practice with deadbolt locks recommended for the strongest protection on doors.
  • Having a perimeter fence or border (even a hedge or shrubbery) with a closed gate helps to create a property barrier that helps establish a boundary.

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design Four Strategies

1. Natural Surveillance- Natural surveillance is a design concept directed at keeping intruders visible by the placement of physical features, activities and people. Implementing landscape features that allow a clear and unobstructed view of the surrounding area, like windows, lighting and trimmed greenery helps prevent hiding spots and areas that can allow someone to not be seen. Windows, lighting, security cameras increase the chance of exposure, the feeling that someone may be watching makes criminals move on. Criminals do not want to be seen, if they can be seen they can be caught.

2. Territorial Reinforcement- is a strategy that shows that there is vested interest or ownership of the area. People who live or work there care about what happens in that area. This can be accomplished through landscaping, ditches, fencing, gates, low shrubbery, and signage. The result is a perceived increase in the risk of criminal activity being observed, caught and punished.

3. Maintenance- Maintenance proves that space is being used as it was intended to be and that someone cares for the property. If a property becomes overgrown or is an area that has broken windows, graffiti or otherwise vandalized, it can encourage more vandalism and graffiti.

4. Natural Access Control- People are physically guided through space by the strategic design of elements such as ditches, driveways, gates, fences and paths. This controls access to the site and creates the perception that there is a risk in selecting that property. Physical and mechanical means of access control (locks, alarm systems, video or camera surveillance) can supplement natural access control measures if needed.



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