Neighborhood Empowerment and Safety Training 

Neighborhood Empowerment and Safety Training (NEST) is the process by which a community becomes empowered to reduce crime and improve the quality of life 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 served. 

Program Overview
Many of NESTs core principles originate from Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). However, through NEST the Network has refined the original approach of CPTED in a way that makes its primary focus the residents and stakeholders living and working within the community in question. CPTED is a concept that originated in the 1960's through the work of various authors who were attempting to address the question 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 still has far reaching effects towards neighborhood revitalization today, and more so when used in conjunction with the Neighborhood Empowerment built into NEST.
Unlike the classic model of CPTED and the majority of crime prevention models which emphasize a top-heavy “broken windows” approach to the neighborhood at-large, NEST involves the entire community in its planning, implementation, and outcome. Experts have cited that there is usually a 20-30% reduction in crime with CPTED-esque programs. The use of the elements of CPTED in addition to the community-minded methodology of NEST is an approach that promises to promote safety and well-being, while empowering those who live and work in the neighborhoods
The Network and NEST
The Network performs many services as a
part of NEST. These often include but are not limited to the following:
Nest 4
  • Preview of the area by The Network staff prior to working with the residents directly
  • Reviewing of previous reports and notes of concerns raised and suggestions raised from and about the neighborhood
  • Review of police and emergency reports with comparison to previous year
  • Presentation of NEST & CPTED principles to community members on several occasions
  • Walk-arounds throughout the community to identify areas of concern by the residents, business owners, government representatives, and police
  • Identifying areas of concern to the participants with an opportunity for them to prioritize the identified areas of concern or need
  • Review concerns as prioritized and develop potential steps and actions to address concerns
  • Individual presentations of concerns and recommendations to participating business owners, government representatives, police, and other stakeholders for review and discussion
  • Presentation to community members with the prioritized concerns highlighted with suggested proven approaches to address the issues going forward
  • Mapping of neighborhood assets and areas of concern relevant to NEST
  • Research of potential funding sources and grants to facilitate recommendations and action strategies
  • Research of available services and institutions that may be able to serve the community in question
  • Creation of resident resource guide as a part of final presentation and report
  • Creation of a full report using services described above with additional resources
There are 4 main components of the built environment that are part of CPTED:
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 NEST
The Network has certified CPTED/NEST 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.
  • NEST 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] / 609-393-3752 or Kelvin Boddy, Community Building Coordinator at [email protected] / 609-393-3742 Ext. 2100