Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is the process by which a community becomes empowered to reduce crime in their neighborhood via an assessment of the built environment and a collaborative approach to addressing community safety needs. These approaches can take different forms based on the needs of the community being addressed. For that reason CPTED is often divided into the four categories: 

Jane Jacobs and colleagues discussing CPTEDCPTED is a concept that originated in the 1960s through the work of various authors who were attempting to address the issue of how to make the nation’s cities safer. Instead of a sweeping policy change, or a call for harsher police tactics authors like Elizabeth Wood and Jane Jacobs suggested that the most effective form of ensuring and promoting safety could come from the physical layout of the neighborhood itself. The use of this concept would have far reaching effects towards neighborhood revitalization, and still does when applied today. 

However, unlike certain forms of neighborhood revitalization CPTED involves the entire community in its planning, implementation, and effects. Experts have cited that there is usually a 20-30% reduction in crime with CPTED. The use of CPTED in changing a community’s landscape promises to bring about continued safety in the area and to leave an impact that is felt across multiple generations!

Access Control
The guidance of people coming and going from a space supported by the placement of entrances, exits, fencing, landscaping, lighting both to and from a property.

The proper care and maintenance of properties enable continued use for its intended purpose. It also serves as an indicator of ownership. Little or no maintenance to a property indicates no concern for the intended users and could very well promote crime and disorder

Natural Surveillance
The placement of physical features (benches, lighting), activities and people in a way to know what’s going on and insure that people can keep an eye on one another.

Territorial Reinforcement
The use of physical attributes that express ownership and a sense of pride. The boundary between public and private space is defined by the use of fencing, pavement treatments, signage and landscaping.

“Research has shown that a wide range of features of the physical environment at the street block and neighborhood levels have proven relevant to predicting crime rates and crime-related outcomes, such as fear of crime and neighborhood confidence. In some of these studies, however, it is difficult to separate the relative crime-preventive or fear-reducing effects of redesign 24 from the beneficial effects of ongoing local social dynamics or the organizational development surrounding the redesign effort. In sum, the relevance of the physical environment appears contingent on a range of nonphysical factors and the type of crime or crime-related outcome in question.” – National Criminal Justice Reference Service

Contact the Network about CPTED
The Network has certified CPTED trainers on staff with extensive experience working in diverse communities across New Jersey. We can:

  • Strengthen neighborhoods by having residents and local organizations/businesses work together to address the safety needs of their community to develop a CPTED plan.
  • CPTED brings together residents, local places of worship, police, local businesses and non-profits to address crime prevention and safety in a collaborative way.
  • Work with your organization to revitalize an existing CPTED Plan.

Contact Sharon Barker, VP and COO at [email protected] or at 609-393-3752