Protect Your Rural Properties with Project Lock Up & CPTED

Protect Your Rural Properties with Project Lock Up & CPTED

Unfortunately, property crimes are on the rise across Alberta. Between 2021 and 2022, reports of break and enters rose by 12%. What is more unsettling is that many of these crimes are preventable if residents and businesses could take action to deter criminals and make their properties less enticing. And as we enter warmer seasons, we are more likely to leave vehicles out in the yard and our doors and windows open. But there are actions that rural community members can take to make their structures and possessions less appealing to thieves.

There are several programs started by the RCMP and other crime prevention organizations to help local citizens take crime prevention into their own hands, including Project Lock Up and CPTED.

Project Lock Up

Law enforcement identified certain properties that have been repeatedly targeted by criminals more often than others in their community. Because there were so many reports, there had to be a reason why thieves were continually targeting these specific properties.

So, law enforcement and citizen-led groups created Project Lock Up to help prevent crime from recurring and allow citizens to take action themselves.

  • Alberta Provincial Rural Crime Watch Association
  • Alberta RCMP
  • Alberta Sheriffs
  • Alberta Commercial Vehicle Enforcement
  • Alberta Fish and Wildlife Enforcements
  • Alberta Peace Officers
  • Criminal Intelligence Services Alberta
  • Citizens on Patrol

Project Lock Up utilizes the combined insights of these organizations to help prevent crime within our rural communities. As a testament to Project Lock Up’s success, from 2017 to 2019, the number of break and enters have decreased by 4.3% in Alberta RCMP rural jurisdictions implementing this project. (source: Alberta RCMP)

How Project Lock Up is Enforced

RCMP Crime Reduction Analysts review data from calls to police to identify the areas where break and enters occur most often. Law enforcement and citizen-led stakeholder groups then use that information to determine where patrols are sent and enhance oversight in the areas hit hardest by these crimes.

They also provide an enhanced response to repeat victims of property crime. So, if a property is broken into more than three times, an officer will come out to the property to help determine the ways to make it less appealing to criminals.

This initiative aims to not only prevent crime but build trust between citizens and law enforcement.

As part of Project Lock Up, members of the RCMP’s Community Engagement and Outreach division, regularly meet with citizens and businesses who have been hit the hardest by property crime. RCMP employees work with them to ensure they are not targeted again by offering advice on Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles.

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)

CPTED or Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design uses physical space to impact criminal decisions and behaviour. So by making specific design choices for your exterior, you are creating an environment around your home or business that would deter criminals and help you to feel safer. CPTED principles can be easy and cost-effective to follow when remodelling or building.

These strategies help make it undesirable or more difficult for criminals to target your home or business. The goal of CPTED is to reduce the opportunities for crime to occur.

You can read more about implementing specific CPTED tactics here.


Alberta Provincial Rural Crime Watch continues to engage in programs, like Project Lock Up and CPTED, that will provide tools to all Albertans to make our communities safer.

April 13, 2023