Reviewing Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design Criminology Essay

Crime prevention through Environmental Design has been used successfully as a method of crime control. The principle CPTED is to make the quality of life safer for people surviving in communities, by causing the environment safer through various scientific design methods that discourage criminal acts.

There are extensive programs dealing with the condition of crime in society today. Most criminal justice scholars are centered on controlling crime, believing bettering crime control will eventually reduce crime or prevent it in many situations. This is why so much attention is directed at crime control methods throughout the criminal justice community today (Champion. p. 6).

Purpose of CPTED

CPTED focuses on techniques and settings to diminish crime. CPTED means changing the elements in any environment to (1) prevent or lessen crime; (2) to lessen fear of crime and apprehension, of crime risks; (3) to raise the aesthetic value of a host; and (4) to increase the qualitative value of life for law-abiding citizens, particularly by reducing the inclination of the physical environment to sustain criminal behavior (Robinson, p. 169).

The approach to crime prevention requires three important criteria:" (1) developing a strong police force; (2) organizing of an active group of citizens; and (3) initiating action to eliminate some of the causes of crime and conditions in which it flourishes. "(Robinson. p. 166). Robinson discussed several degrees of analysis or approaches where CPTED is applicable-individual, group, school, community, and social. Stating "The average person level includes programs that concentrate on the individual's behavior; the group level focuses on behavior as it stems from groups; and the school level approaches include a variety of strategies and techniques. The three levels focus appears to be on the physical environment-for example, clean and fenced schoolyard, controlling access, and so forth, but it also includes discipline codes, mentoring, school uniforms, and so forth". The city approach includes programs involving the community members, one example might be, after-school programs, whereas on the social level government becomes involved, through grants such as "Cops in Schools. " Robinson has advocated that the most effective method to protecting against crime in schools will be a comprehensive crime prevention program that might be inclusive of all levels or approaches. (Robinson. p. 169). "Conflict resolution programs are some of the most discussed in school CPTED approaches" (Robinson. p. 169).

Some basics of CPTED include target hardening (Target hardening means controlling access to neighborhoods to buildings also using surveillance on explicit areas to reduce crime opportunities). Additionally through, territorial reinforcement (this means ; raising the sense of security in settings people live and work in, by the encouragement of activities, thereby increasing informal control of the environment) (Fleissner, and Heinzelmann, 1996)

CPTED is very steady with problem oriented policing, because it is concerned with an array of problems. Besides that of crime by itself, it is steady within system analysis of the crime event, plus events that donate to the opportunism for crime, which can inevitably be utilized as strategies designed handle to the issues in a specific situational area or locales. CPTED is involved and active with citizen's governmental agencies, as well as local institutions. CPTED has a role to perform in delineating the problem and making decisions in regards to to appropriate solutions as well as responsibility for long-term solutions (Zahm, D. 2007).

The ultimate objective of CPTED is the reduction of opportunities for crime occurrence, by the application, of physical design features intentionally implemented for the intended purpose of discouraging crime, which simultaneously encourages legitimate uses of the environment (Gardner, R. A. , 1995).

CPTED is different in comparison to other crime prevention or security measures because it specifically focuses on aspects of the design. Other procedures have a tendency to be fond of denying access to a target using by using preventive security measure such as locks and bars, or relying on electronic technology such as alarms and surveillance cameras to discover and identify an offender, together with security guards. CPTED is also unusual in comparison with some police activities, because CPTED encourages prevention and considers design and logistics, while traditionally policing has valued a swift a reaction to incidents, and the identification and arrest of offenders (Zahm, 2007).

Many crime prevention programs have been created by police agencies. These programs, or strategies, have been developed as policing policies, many under the heading of "community-oriented policing. " Community-oriented policing strategies might take on any of several focuses within the community: specific areas and groups may be targeted, or general strategies may be adopted to prevent crime throughout the whole community. By focusing on the environmental areas of the city, "the frequency of certain types of criminal behavior may be reduced through identification and modification of the environmental conditions under which such offenses occur" (Robinson, pp. vii - viii). Many police agencies hire a combination of community-oriented policing programs, using specifically targeted strategies inside a broader, general strategy (Robinson, pp. vii - viii).

Process of Problem Solving with SARA

"In crime prevention through environmental design, the problem-solving process implemented is a series of steps designed to answer four questions: What's the trouble? Why here? What can be done to solve the problem? How well are we doing?" (Zahm. 2007). Each of the aforementioned questions represents a segment in the SARA process: SARA is an acronym for scanning, analysis, response, and assessment. SARA serves as a guideline or perceptual framework for action; while SARA is an excellent location to start, the process may need to be adapted to the individual location and circumstances. The tangibility of the in each situation process is determined by a variety of considerations, for example, an explicit crime problem in a specific setting. Zahm. 2007). Analyses may focus on a single kind of crime and, because crime data are already available for the problem site, therefore analysis for solutions can begin immediately. Additional time might be required, as issues are more complex, and will have a greater influence on larger areas with a bigger population having invested interests. In many cases, it requires time to organize a problem-solving team and also to acquire data. Other considerations might be that it could be more difficult to find a solution that both addresses the condition and satisfies those who are invested (Zahm, 2007).

Important tools used in the CPTED


Surveillance is female weapon found in the safeguarding of an area. Whenever there are elevated risks that their actions will be witnessed, criminals are less likely to commit a crime. Environments where lawful occupants can apply a higher amount of visual control boost the likelihood that criminal acts will be viewed and reported (Gardner, 1995).

Informal Surveillance

Informal Surveillance designed to reduce visual obstacles in addition to eliminating places of concealment for a possible assaulter offering the most protection against attack. These open designs also encourage use of the surroundings, as people feel safer when they can simply see and become sighted (Gardner, 1995).

The use of defensible space in conjunction with natural surveillance is a potent crime prevention tool. On the behalf of the resident/ proprietor, an intruder's entrance into restricted space creates cause for attention and potential alarm. For the intruder, getting into a restricted area puts him into the spotlight, heightens his anxiety level, furthermore increasing his risk of being found out and caught (Gardner, 1995).


Lighting can be one of the most effective crime deterrents. Light is a tool used to defer crime when it's well-planned and properly planned, it discourages criminal activity, reduces fear and enhances natural surveillance opportunities (Gardner, 1995).

The type and level of light required will change depending on the situational logistics etc. , however the goal consistently remains the same in all cases. To the best degree possible, an even of light providing good visibility should be constantly maintained at night. The amount of light, provided it meets minimum standards, is not as critical as the evenness of the light. Bright spots and shadows are not advised because; highly vulnerable areas and those that could conceal a potential attacker should be illuminated more brightly than other areas. The objective is more visibility of the criminal without spotlighting the victim (Gardner, 1995).

A bright, cheerful environment is a lot more pleasing than one which appears dark and lifeless. As used in CPTED, lighting plays a part in creating the ability to feel great about one's environment, which is important in creating a sense of pride and ownership and a feeling of territoriality. Lighting can influence an individual's feelings about his environment from an aesthetic and a safety standpoint (Gardner, 1995).

Landscaping design

Landscaping design plays a significant role in CPTED. Versatility to landscaping may be used to perform a number of design functions. (Gardner. 1995). On your behalf barrier, landscaping can delineate the changeover between zones. Decorative fencing, flowerbeds, ground cover, and varied patterns in cement work can clearly show division between zones. More substantial barriers are, shrubbery such as evergreen hedges and may be used to create more formidable obstacles if possible (Gardner. 1995). From a surveillance standpoint, landscaping can be quite important. Factors such as growth characteristics of plants and their placement with regards to potentially vulnerable areas are specially important (Gardner. 1995). It's important to keep visual corridors in open, park-like areas as well as in densely planted areas. Generally, visual surveillance corridors can be maintained by limiting growth of shrubbery to a maximum height of three feet and trees to a minimum height of six feet at the cheapest branches, thus making certain visibility between three and six feet from the bottom will be relatively unimpaired (Gardner. 1995). Another function of landscaping in crime prevention is aesthetics, because aesthetics are essential, a nice-looking environment results in a feeling of the pride and ownership (Gardner. 1995).

Physical Security

The problem with the physical security of all building projects lies in the actual fact that the designers of projects don't realize crime and criminals, or the positive an effect they can have on the averting of crime by taking positive steps through the designing stages of these work. The ignoring of crime prevention through environmental design can cause soaring residential and commercial burglary rates (Gardner, 1995).

Sophisticated physical security planning can contribute considerably to the general success of the project. The correct application of security hardware and the elimination of security flaws will from a structural viewpoint, significantly have a confident impact on future crime problems (Gardner. 1995). As an aspect of CPTED, the goal physical security planning is to make penetration more difficult and time-consuming, because the amount of difficulty and length of delay are key factors in reducing the probability that crime will occur (Gardner. 1995).

Many of the average person CPTED elements should be acquainted to the security professional. Hardware, lighting, and surveillance are standard tools of the trade. The emphasis of CPTED is not simply on the tools, however. It is the way the tools are being used that makes the difference. Normally, a building is built and then secured. With CPTED, it is secured, and then built. More importantly, not merely the building is secured but also the area around it. Importantly the security program is integrated into the environment, not just added on (Gardner, 1995).

CPTED was formerly developed to lessen crime in public areas housing projects, but its applications are unlimited. It is an idea that could work not only in housing, but also in businesses, industries, public buildings, parks and recreation areas, and schools. It is a thought that is useful in effectively securing one building or a whole city (Gardner, 1995).

Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) strategies desire to change factors in various environments to reduce the opportunity for those environments to aid crime. This is achieved in many types of environments, which makes it a superlative concept to effect many regions of the population, in every different venues, such as commercial properties, shopping malls, residential governmental housing, and in private and public school environments. Although school violence has not increased in the last decade, CPTED strategies could be employed to reduce school violence even more (Robinson. p. 70). CPTED is also geared to reduce concern with crime and perceptions of crime risks, enhancing the aesthetic quality of a host, and increasing the quality of life for law-abiding citizens, by reducing the physical environment's capacity to support criminal behavior (Robinson. p. 70).

Examples of Successful Projects: (Curries Woods Public housing Renovation, Jersey City, . N. J. ) along with the Westside Waterfront, Troy, N. Y.

Curries Woods Public housing Renovation

Curries Woods like many public housing projects was built in the late 1970s. In recent years, it had become a hot spot for crime, even the Jersey City Police Department did not like to even respond to calls there. New efforts were recently undertaken to improve the nature of Curries Woods, with an focus on crime prevention (Robinson. p. 170).

Five main strategies were undertaken to achieve the goal crime reductions. The first strategy involved CPTED. First, old high rises were demolished and construction of low-density town houses occurred. New fences, lighting, limited entrances, manned monitoring booths, and parking stickers were all put into improve the general environment. Secondly, screening and eviction enforcement policies. Residents would will have to meet placement eligibility standards and agree to all areas of the lease agreement, which included a "one strike and you're out" clause. Violators of the lease were evicted (Robinson. p. 170).

Ninety-six large family units changed into ninety-one smaller occupant units, where six lower level apartments were converted to accommodate the physically handicapped, and the rest of the apartments were reduced in size and fitted properly to accommodate senior citizens and disabled persons. A number of young adult residents were relocated. Self-locking doors where installed, as well as apartment buzzers with an intercom, surveillance cameras, glass panels to the lobby and ground floor, a lower life expectancy sized lobby, and a wrought iron fence about the building to protect the bottom level window. Since the CDTED renovations, the building's security has improved because, these techniques have increased access control and reduced the amount of crowds that often congregated in the lobby (Robinson, pp. 116 - 117).

When Curries Woods residents were surveyed in 1995, loitering, drinking, and drug activities were three of the most frequent problems occurring in the lobby area. After the renovation, crowd congregations have been eliminated and the all day and night pedestrian traffic has decreased (Robinson, pp. 116 - 117).

Unlike the former building, which had three entrances accessible to the general public, this building has only 1 entrance. The former two exits are only for emergency use. For security purposes, to get access into the renovated building, nonresidents are actually required to visit the resident monitor's desk and sign the visitor's book to record his/her name and destination. The resident monitors are required to sit inside a glass-enclosed office located across from the building's two elevators, thus to be able to take notice of the incoming and exiting pedestrian traffic (Robinson, pp. 116 - 117). .

The use of residents to keep up foyer and lobby area surveillance increases resident ownership and promotes resident involvement to keep up building safety. Closed circuit tv was installed in each resident's apartment and in the manager's office to widen the utilization of video surveillance. An easy to get at on-site manager's office used during day and evening hours, promoted daily business activity, as well as the utilization of the community room and laundry room, and reduces the ability for criminal and deviant behavior (Robinson, pp. 116 - 117). .

An additional measure to reduce criminal opportunity was the installation of windows across the building to enhance natural surveillance and bring more light onto the floors. Extensive use of windows now adds much more day light to the ground halls, and, the road lamp illuminates the landings nearest the elevators during the night hours. The widening of the all hallways has taken increased lighting to the floors. (Robinson, pp. 116 - 117).

The combination of well-lit floors, wider halls, and large windows increases visibility inside the building. The increased hall space eases pedestrian movement and reduced close public contact when walking. The additional windows provide residents an chance to observe their cars while parked before the building, or sit and await a member of family who is coming in an automobile. Parking in front of the building increases car surveillance and decreases the chance of auto theft. In addition, it enables management to more easily identify resident cars and remove those cars, owned by nonresidents (Robinson, pp. 116 - 117).

Disabled parking can be found directly before the building to shorten the walking distance to and from the building. The sidewalk is obtainable for wheelchair consumption and is much narrower than the prior sidewalks. Wide sidewalks drew larger crowd gatherings hence triggering passageway obstructions. The upsurge in the presence of resident monitors promotes building pride and develops tenant responsibility and accountability (Robinson, pp. 116 - 117).

The reconstruction of 3 New Heckman Drive for seniors, the disabled and small-sized families has prevailed using the CPTED strategies, and it offers significantly reduced criminal opportunity and deterred unwanted visitors. (Robinson, pp. 116 - 117).

The Westside Waterfront, Troy, N. Y.

For the previous few years NCPC has been working closely with Weed and Seed sites in the united states, conducting Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) training and technical assistance (Coletrane, 2009). Currently, NCPC is working with Weed and Seed sites in Montgomery, AL; Washington, DC; Manchester, NH; Rome, NY; Troy, NY; Schenectady, NY; N. Charleston, SC; and Dallas, TX. Troy, for example, has already established great success as the result of implementing an action plan using the CPTED principles learned through NCPC's training. (Coletrane, 2009)

The Westside Waterfront Weed and Seed location in Troy houses over 3, 500 households, the majority are renters. This West side waterfront community wanted to lower the quantity of property crime and reclaim its green areas that had become populated by drug traffickers and users (Coletrane, 2009).

This Weed and Seed site increased and improved used signs at the apartment buildings to make it simpler to define where private and public property began and ended. They renovated the playground to make it more user-friendly and appealing by laying mulch on the top, bettering the lighting, and installing a small "splash pad" with a water sprinkler for children. Landscaping was improved, the parking lot was re-lined, and a wrought-iron fence will soon be installed. The website also centered on reclaiming Troy's Canal Avenue Park for family use. This park is at disrepair and disfigured with graffiti. The area had rusted playground equipment and Older youth loitered there intimidating younger children and families who may have wished to use the park (Coletrane, 2009).

Local partners were contacted and engaged with successfully; metropolis administration agreed to develop a work plan and new vision for the park. The fire department decided to open and lock the gates to the park every day. The community-policing unit agreed to patrol more frequently, the Osgood Crime Watch Association agreed to maintain the park, which past April, on Earth Day service projects had 60 neighbors volunteer to remove graffiti, clean up and paint playground equipment, and trim trees to help sightlines and lighting. Furthermore, the United Way organized a revitalization team of 100 volunteers to take out the old playground equipment and ready the website for new, toddler-scaled playground equipment; install new picnic tables and barbeque grills; and design and use a children's literacy trail garden based on the book Flower Garden by Eve Bunting. Signs displaying the simple verses of the children's tale illustrate the garden and the path through it (Coletrane, 2009).


"Many crime prevention programs work, others do not. Most programs have not yet been evaluated with enough scientific evidence to draw conclusions "(Sherman, et-al 1998). Experimental designs are more challenging to conduct with CPTED strategies. A multitude of CPTED studies has been conducted, trying to look for the impact of the strategies on specific geographic areas. If the units of measurement are areas instead of individuals, experimental designs are more challenging because random assignment is more challenging to accomplish, and yes it is often difficult to identify comparable areas to serve as controls, and it can be challenging to ensure that the intervention does not inadvertently affect the control area. Usage of statistical techniques control for other variables influencing outcomes can help increase scientific a more stringent control of the evaluations (Anonymous n. a. ). Environmental factors require longer data collection periods. Although research indicates that fear of crime and perceptions of safety are influenced by season, many CPTED studies never have had long enough follow-up periods that report seasonal variations (Anonymous n. a. ).

A solution would be longer follow-up periods that would allow comparison periods properly matched by season to decrease the opportunity that fluctuations in factors such as temperature or hours of daylight, which can effect for observed outcomes. Additionally, studies of CPTED strategies in the vein of street lighting or outdoor cameras should take into account environmental factors such as time of day since these kind of strategies may have different effects on different kinds of crime depending on whether it's day or night. Usage of statistical ways to control other variables that might be influencing outcomes, may help increase the scientific accuracy of the evaluations (Anonymous n. a. ).

Another difficulty is that Multiple CPTED strategies tend to be implemented together making more difficult to ascertain which individual components of the various strategies are in charge of reductions in crime (Anonymous n. a. ).

Accounting for successes and failures is difficult when program implementation data is incomplete. Many times in studies when CPTED strategies are implemented, the process of collecting data that would show why and what sort of CPTED strategy was implemented has been overlooked and only collecting outcome data showing its impact. Therefore, it is more difficult to find out potential reasons for a program's success or failure if implementation has not been properly documented. Data indicating why a strategy was chosen as well, as how it was implemented would provide information about how these factors afflicted program outcomes (Anonymous n. a. ).

Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Crime Prevention

Primary Crime Prevention

Primary crime prevention models all involve some degree of community involvement. However, each kind of prevention focuses on a specific developmental stage of crime. Primary prevention addresses the conditions in the natural environment that can lead to the development and prevalence of crime. Lack of street maintenance, broken windows, abandoned buildings, and divided cars are a few examples of a disorganized community. Primary prevention seeks to alleviate the factors that can lead to crime Safetycops (n. a. ).

Secondary Crime Prevention

Secondary crime prevention attempts to avoid crime by focusing on at-risk offenders or potential opportunities that could foster criminal activity. The primary tool used in secondary crime prevention is identification and prediction. There are various theoretical bases for the implementation of secondary crime prevention programs. Once able to identify potential places, people, situations, or opportunities that are at-risk for criminal activity it might be possible to predict and stop any future criminal occurrence. By reducing the actual opportunities to commit crime, increasing the potential risks of the crime, and by minimizing the would-be gains of the criminal act, it is much more likely that the criminal be discouraged rather than take part in such behavior (Safetycops (n. a. ).

Tertiary Crime Prevention

Tertiary prevention, unlike primary and secondary prevention targets prevention following a crime has occurred. The focus is to reduce the recidivism rate of criminals and insure that steps are taken so a victim will not be re-victimized Serious violent crimes often occur in what's normally called "hot spots. " targeting these areas and by using a combo of programs reduced amount of crime can be done. Situational Crime Prevention has been proven to dramatically reduce burglary crimes. Inside a Maryland Report, over 90% of the studies evaluated on situational crime prevention show reductions in crime. Approaches such as target hardening had a significant influence on crime rates Safetycops (n. a. ).

I have the CPTED programs have several advantages in the other programs, by planning strategies that avert or eliminate crime opportunities. CPTED treats whole areas at the same time, instead of the emphasis being on treating problems on an individual basis, or person-to-person basis, bringing swifter results, effecting whole communities. CPTED is flexible; its variables can be integrated into most crime programs as part of the way to avert crime through readdressing public areas problems, commercial areas, residential communities or public housing, parks, government facilities and schools. It could embrace the best components and strategies of other programs, such as, surveillance technologies policing, and psychological tools, as well as elements of other successful programs proven successful strategies in the reduction crime.

The criterion principle is to make the standard of living safer for individuals surviving in communities by making the surroundings safer through various scientific and design methods that discourage criminal acts. Crime prevention through Environmental Design has shown to work successfully as a method of modern crime control alone, and coupled with other crime preventions programs. In new schools being built, CPTED planning it is a prerequisite to get government contracts and funding using towns and states. I believe its future is very promising and you will be implemented and intergraded into many future projects.

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