top of page

What is CPTED?

Have you ever heard of CPTED? If you answered no, then you would be with the majority of people. It stands for Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. This blog post will give you the quick and easy explanation on what CPTED is and why it’s so important.

Several years ago I was discussing crime, security concerns, and public safety issues with a quality auditor. They were assessing my old place of work at the time. He asked me if CPTED principles had been implemented. I had no clue. I didn’t even know what those letters meant. I seriously had to google, “What is CPTED?”. Who knew that a five letter acronym would lead me to the next big chapter of my life. Long story short, CPTED is now my biggest passion and that one small conversation has led me to be a proud CPTED practitioner. I am forever grateful for this introduction to crime prevention through environmental design.

Now that you’ve heard of CPTED and have seen what these letters stand for, what does CPTED actually mean? Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design or CPTED (pronounced ‘sep-ted’) is known around the world as Designing Out Crime, defensible space, and other similar terms. Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design is a multi-disciplinary approach to crime prevention that uses urban and architectural design, and the management of the built and natural environments. CPTED strategies aim to reduce victimization, deter offender decisions that precede criminal acts, and build a sense of community among inhabitants. This gives inhabitants the opportunity to gain territorial control of areas, reduce crime, and minimize the fear of crime.

For example, have you ever been to a gas station and noticed that most of the windows are covered with signs? Now, these large product advertisements are blocking the view from the gas pump to the inside of the store, and if you are inside the store looking out your view is now blocked as well. This is considered poor natural surveillance.

The recommendation would be to have visibility in both directions to see and be seen. Should there be an incident at the pump or happening inside the store it’s important to have natural surveillance for an individual to render aid, call first responders, and respond to the incident. Potential criminals are unlikely to attempt a crime if they are at risk of being observed. Natural surveillance is not only important in public spaces like gas stations and other businesses

but also your home.

Natural Surveillance is just one of multiple overlapping concepts that make up CPTED. As you learn more you will find that there are many things you can do to improve your environment to be as safe as possible.

Whether implemented at home, your neighborhood, place of work, house of worship, or school system CPTED principles are crime prevention tools that can be introduced into any space, but they must be maintained to be effective. Please, use this blog of new knowledge to research, educate yourself, and educate others about the positive impact of introducing CPTED principles to your environment.

Follow along to learn more, lighting is next. How is the lighting in your environment and do you think lighting is important?

21 views0 comments


bottom of page