Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design or CPTED (pronounced sep-ted), is part of a comprehensive approach to crime prevention. The basic premise behind CPTED is that by emphasizing modifications to the physical environment we can reduce the potential for criminal activity.

CPTED is applied through three overlapping strategies:

  • Natural Surveillance: Maximizes the ability to see what is occurring in a given space, and optimize the potential to spot suspicious persons or activities.
  • Territorial Reinforcement: Promotes a definition of space and a sense of proprietary concern.
  • Access Control: Designating appropriate means for public access while effectively denying access to private areas.

Tactic Success

The application of CPTED tactics can make it more difficult and risky to carry out inappropriate activities and can often be quite simple. CPTED focuses on the use of design to eliminate or reduce criminal behaviour while at the same time encouraging people to keep an eye out for one another. It can be effectively used in most environments, including businesses and residential homes.

CPTED has been proven effective in many situations and environments and can be used to identify and remove potential problems in proposed developments, or to correct existing design problems that may invite crime. As part of a comprehensive approach, CPTED complements community-based policing, programs by our community partners, and social programs that address some of the root causes of criminal behaviour.

For more strategies, visit the Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre.