Free Custom «Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design» Essay Paper

Free Custom «Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design» Essay Paper

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is designed on the idea that good design and effective use of the developed environment can result to reducing or mitigating crime occurrences, and, hence, lead to improved standards of life. In summary, if the design is laid out properly, there exist minimal chances of being attacked by criminals. Crime is regarded as a social crisis in our community, and it affects many people lives every year. These crimes generate greater fear within the society. For instance, crimes like theft, robbery, and rape are some of the serious security threats to the safety of a society. These threats can result to restriction of individual’s freedom of movement. To combat these, a wide range of preventive responses must be employed inclusive of design, law enforcement, and community action. But as for CPTED, societal members, planners, developers, homeowners, and architects play a big role in protecting the society and themselves from a criminal act. This is achieved through the integration of principles and concepts into the design and control of the physical environment.

Literary Review

 CPTED crime prevention programme begun way back in 1970s and 1980s, after ten years of urban unrest in the United Stated of America. This programme emerged along with other crime prevention techniques such as situational crime prevention, environmental criminology, and defensible spacing. CPTED was initially formulated by criminologist C. Ray Jeffery.  Prove of the efficiency and effectiveness of CPTED crime prevention technique in reducing crime has been accumulating ever since its introduction. Regarding a survey conducted in 1994 by the U.S. Mayors Conference and the Justice Department, it was clear that approximately 151 cities had incorporated a few of CPTED principles into their zoning and development code (Crowe, 2000, p. 12).

Crime prevention is described as the action that leads to the removal or reduction of an anticipated crime. The crime should first be expected, recognized and thereafter, some action should be taken to alleviate the criminal act. But as for CPTED, it goes to the extent of mastering the site design, and further working with development public and community agencies in bid to make safer designs in both existing and new buildings. For instance, a properly planned and designed quality physical environment can play a paramount role in the reduction of crime occurrence (Crowe, 2000, p. 24). If quality physical environment is embraced by design professionals in the design phase, then crime reduction possibilities are very high.

Effective participation of CPTED relies on comprehension of design and planning process. This includes personal planning activities, their sequence, timing of various decisions, making decisions and incorporation of CPTED principles. Below is a design and planning process diagram (Crowe, 2000, p. 67).

Design and Planning process

Several CPTED training institutions have different descriptions of the major CPTED strategies. Most of the North American jurisdictions apparently recognize CPTED approaches by different names including ‘Secure by Design’ and ‘Design Out Crime.’

Elements of CPTED

There exist four principles of CPTED listed as follows: Natural access control, Natural surveillance, Maintenance and management, and Territorial reinforcement. Natural surveillance is one of the design concept employed by CPTED and is meant to keep intruders and every individual under surveillance. It enhances the visibility features of a property or a building. For instance, a good design of lighting, windows and landscaping will enhance the ability observing intruders as well as expected users (Crowe, 2003, p. 24). This provides an opportunity for challenging unauthorized behaviors or, otherwise, report suspicious behaviors to police or property owner. Natural surveillance plays a major role the provision of a good visual connection between commercial units and residential. Low walls, paving, and landscape patterns are used to define responsibility and ownership (Crowe, 2003, p. 24).

Natural access control uses elements like doors, shrubs and gates to hamper admission to a crime target.  More so, it creates a notion among offenders that there could be a peril in choosing a particular target. Basically, this technique is meant to deny access to a crime target and, moreover, create a perception of a peril to offenders.

Territorial reinforcement utilizes design elements like sidewalks, landscaping, and porches to aid in distinguishing between private and public areas. Additionally, it aids users to exhibit signs of ownership that sends hands-off information to potential offenders. Territorial reinforcement implies that physical design can build a circle of territorial influence which can be decoded by the potential offenders. Moreover, territorial reinforcement promotes a sense of ownership. People are often interested in things they own, or they feel much involved. In this case, the environment should be planned to accurately define private spaces (Geason & Wilson, 1989, p. 34).

Good Care and maintenance permits endless utilization of a space for its sole purpose. Deterioration signals and less control by purposed users exhibit tolerance of a given security disorder. Proper maintenance guards the public health welfare and safety in all available residential, and premises. This is accomplished by the setting up minimum requirement and recommended standards. Owners, occupants, and operators are responsible for carrying out maintenance task.

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Factors necessitating CPTED

There are several factors that have necessitated the use of CPTED as a form of crime prevention. CPTED is known to be an effective technique in preventing crimes. Basically, CPTED entails proper design and effective utilization of built environment to cut down on the incidences and the fear of crime. These will leads to an improved standard of life. Additionally, CPTED promotes the legitimate utilization of space. It is not hard to apply CPTED, and, at times, can be cheap to implement, especially when done in the early planning and design stages of a project (Geason & Wilson, 1989, p. 43).

 The effectiveness of this programme is pronounced because it utilizes the strategy of crime deterrence via a good environmental design. Research findings show that offender cannot be literally prohibited from committing crime. CPTED only alters the physical environment design that might cause a criminal to change certain behavioral decisions. The changes are meant to deter a criminal’s crime behavior (Geason & Wilson, 1989, p. 43).

Besides being cost effective in reducing criminal acts, CPTED typically lowers overall costs of crime prevention. When CPTED is implemented in the early stages of design of a facility planning, the cost of designing CPTED programme is affordable. Moreover, operational cost usually cheap as in CPTED lighting designs significantly conserves energy. All these make CPTED to be cost effective.

Additionally, CPTED promotes safety of private and public resources. It enhances crime prohibition in both local law enforcement and societal groups.  CPTED employs strategies that conceptualize, design, and manage built and natural environments to reduce, prevent or stop criminal acts. Moreover, the use of CPTED builds a welcoming and warm environment, and thus attracts people in an environment. This is well established when CPTED strategies are used in schools and government offices.

CPTED has the ability to create a feeling of belonging and ownership by government officers, teachers, and students. This enhances an individual’s privacy, and thus, one feels secure. The sense of ownership is incorporated when using territorial reinforcement in a CPTED design.

More so, the crime prevention technique brings satisfaction to its consumers. The consumers can have a feeling of physical and social organization especially when CPTED is implemented in an institution. In the school setting, the programs help to manage access to the entire institution (Crowe, 2000, p. 44).

CPTED is considered to efficient and saves time. It often results in a block of programs or plans that are proactive and directed towards solving a given problem. It also considers a wide array of probable problems, but not obvious criminal offences. More so, CPTED significantly involves a group of government agencies, citizens, and local organizations. Each of these has a duty to play in defining and making decisions upon a suitable solution, as well as being used for making future improvements (Plaster & Carter, 1993, p. 54).

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Analysis of CPTED success

CPTED strategies are considered effective when they are convenient to the end users and when its design process is based on the joined efforts of environmental designers, community members, and law enforcement professionals. CPTED is effective since it relies upon the alteration of the physical environment that makes a criminal fear to carry out an offensive act. It is also economical in terms of cost incurred in crime prevention.

According to the research carried out by South California Injury Prevention Research Center (SCIPRC) to establish the success of CPTED in crime prevention, it was clear that it is cost-effective, efficient and economical. CPTED evaluations were obtained via a thorough search mechanism. The studies were carried out by programs implementing single component, and multiple components. Multiple component CPTED program exhibited a percentage change in robbery ranging from -83 percent to -30 percent. The single component program exhibited a percentage change in robbery ranging from -65 percent to +130 percent. It was clear that crime reduction was significant by a remarkable percentage when CPTED crime prevention technique was implemented. Therefore, we can conclude that, according to research findings, CPTED stands out to be relatively effective in crime reduction as compared to crime prevention techniques (Plaster & Carter, 1993, p. 67).

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Critical analysis of CPTED effectiveness

CPTED strategies are most effective when they work to the expectation of a consumer. More so, they are said to be efficient when CPTED design process is based on the joint efforts of environmental planners, community representative, and law enforcement professionals.  CPTED is considered as most effective when it has an element of crime deterrence through the physical environmental design. The alteration of physical environment is crafted to encourage good behavior, and thus prevent criminal acts. Most significantly, CPTED is cost-effective in lowering crime occurrence in a given place, and thus typically cuts down the overall costs of crime prevention. CPTED lighting designs reduces energy use, and hence lower operational costs.  Additional, the crime prevention program lowers liability. However, the liability issue of CPTED has raised a number of questions regarding the approximation of the amount of crime prevention that can be enough for a given place. Critics have suggested that a risk management approach might be better than a fear driven CPTED technique. They question about the amount of freedom, in terms of assembly and movement, which a society should be granted for it to be considered free from a crime risk (Smith, 1996, p. 46). Of late, the communities are seeking other methods of enhancing security. For instance, communities are now using gates and CCTV in public places. More so, critics argue that given that many old cities like Washington DC were developed with no idea of CPTED design in mind, it becomes expensive to introduce the technique. It calls for a significant alteration of the existing built environment which is difficult.  Moreover, CPTED can only work in areas where there is no resistance to change. More so, it cannot work for areas with resistance to joined planning required by CPTED, and also skeptics who do not support the CPTED concepts (Smith, 1996, p. 44).

Impact of societal factors on CPTED

There are several societal issues of content that can positively or negatively impact on CPTED implementation and success in a given town. CPTED approaches can reduce or mitigate crime through law enforcement and also, broaden the partnership with the societal groups. Police officers, code enforcement respondents, and planners in a given society can recognize and promote the use of CPTED technique. A society with a large number of banking facilities will automatically require water tight security to curb potential insecurities. In such situations, the society will have to apply CPTED in design to provide opportunities of mitigating insecurity. For instance, bank halls or an ATM machine should positioned in a place that is open, where everybody can see ongoing activities (Wekerle et el., 1992, p. 45). One should be granted an opportunity to see walkways, parking and other areas of the site from different locations inside a hall. The high demand of security in a metropolitan city influences the choice of CPTED design principle. Schools, likewise, can admire to have an environment that is welcoming, and fostering a sense of physical and social order. Because of these factors, a school can be forced to pick a given design principle of CPTED that will lead to its goal achievement. For instance, a given principle should be able to manage access to all school areas. Therefore, we can conclude that societal factors like security, efficiency, and a sense of satisfaction by the consumer, can greatly influence the choice and the success of a certain CPTED strategy. The societal implementation of relevant CPTED principles will, therefore, the reduce crime rate (Wekerle et el., 1992, p. 45).

The future technological advancement of CPTED

The utilization of technology in the present generation security profession is key in providing a secure environment. The future of technological utilization in CPTED technique is bright. The introduction of identification cards (I.Ds) that uses a magnetic stripe on the reverse side enables a variety of access functions. Barry University is access controlled by a gate arm using the University I.D. card. The University library has also been using the I.D. cards to control the borrowing of books. Additionally, certain institutions have decided use the internet to stretch access control to selected buildings, health, and sports centers. Moreover, the introduction of “webcam technology” to view some buildings that are far off will brighten the future of CPTED crime prevention program. Finally, the integration of mobile aided surveillance systems in CPTED technique will allow the society to monitor properties from any part of the world. This will be facilitated by the use of 3G camera phone integrated on robots (Crowe, 2000, p. 79).

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CPTED is broadly used in many parts of the global world including the United States and United Kingdom. In U.S. CPTED has been acknowledged in several cities like Ottawa, Washington, and New York. The program is used for designing new neighborhoods, and planning of parks. It is also used in renovated and new buildings, and in government houses.  CPTED is basically applicable in areas where there is proper societal coordination. More so, the people involved in designing and planning buildings should thoroughly be trained on CPTED regulations and apply them in their daily lives. There exists tangible evidence that CPTED reduce or mitigate crime, and its future is bright. However, CPTED has not satisfactorily used its full potential because it cannot be used in big crime prevention programs.


Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) can be described as a technique of reducing the potential criminal activities. Criminals find it hard to indentify an easy target for their activities. It is can, otherwise, be framed as a way protecting the well being of property and family. Once CPTED is fully implemented, the “hard target” image is maintained to criminals, and this is the how security and comfort is improved. This research explores this crime prevention program in detail and gives reasons for its success.



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