Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design or CPTED is the manipulation of the built environment around us. CPTED manipulates the environment by altering things that already exist. For example, by modifying overgrown bushes, landscaping and lighting, we can create a safer environment by taking away opportunities for criminals to hide, or ambush us. CPTED has three underlying principles. 

Natural Surveillance

Natural surveillance is a strategy used by CPTED practitioners to keep view of the offender at all times using our natural environment. It goes without saying that a criminal is less likely to scope out your home or hide around your property if they are in a vulnerable position. The 2-foot/6-foot rule is preferred from a landscaping perspective. Keeping your landscaping either below 2 feet, or above 6 feet will provide clear sightlines on your property.

The stock picture to the left is an extreme example of unsafe natural surveillance. There are plenty of places to hide, the homeowner can't see out to the road and if there was an emergency inside the home, there is a chance that no one will see or hear their pleas. 

Natural Access Control

Natural access control is the use of natural guidelines to control movement. For example, in the photo to the left, a clear defined pathway guides the user up the sidewalk towards the pergola, and into the plaza entrance. The landscaping is low and maintained, and the pergola is over a height of 6 feet. The dental studio has a clear view out to the road, and if a bad guy was to try and break into the studio, they'd be clearly visible from the street. Alternatively, someone leaving work at night would feel comfortable walking through this area, as there is lots of natural surveillance, and all entrances and exits are clearly visible. 

Territorial Reinforcement

Territorial reinforcement is the use of natural and human-made tools to create a barrier between public and private land. Fences, bollards, gates, and access control systems are all pieces of territorial reinforcement. Another example would be a transitional space in a public area, where the city sidewalk is cement, and the distance between the sidewalk and the property is done with red pavers. This, in effect, creates a boundary between public and private property. The photo to the left is a simple example of reinforcement. CPTED principles were used in the creation of this barrier, as the fence is see-through, provides a barrier between the sidewalk and complex, and does not give a criminal the chance to hide and ambush anyone, as the view is unobstructed. 

How we use CPTED to help you feel safer

As you can see in the examples above, there are plenty of opportunities in our everyday lives to become victims of a crime. If you reside in a residence that looks similar to picture one, you are putting yourself at risk. Now, we understand that not all homes are as overgrown as that photo, but any trees, bushes, or other impediments to natural surveillance become risks to you, the homeowner. 


We will use all three of these pillars to assess your home and help remove barriers, build reinforcement, and ensure that your home does not become a target for criminals. 


Contact us today and set up your in-home assessment.