Access control

This design concept is directed primarily at decreasing the opportunity for criminal activity by denying access to crime targets and creating a perception of difficulty and risk for offenders. Access control relates to the physical guidance of people coming and going from a space by designating appropriate means for public access while effectively denying access to private areas.

How it works

Proper access control can be achieved through the use of clearly designated entrances, exits, and paths to guide people appropriately through an area, as well as fences, locks, and other barriers to physically block access. For example, walkway bollards may be placed near the entrance of a park to prevent vehicle entry but allow pedestrian entry. This strategy works because it creates a barrier against improper vehicle movement into the park. In the event vehicles do enter the park, the presence of the bollards makes the inappropriate behaviour clear to citizens passing by and they can notify police.

Ways to increase access control

Single Point of Entry

Using a single point of entry for visitors and customers with a clearly identifiable path to the door; this may allow for potential criminals who don’t approach properly to be more easily noticed.

Define Pathways

Employing walkways, signage, landscaping, plantings, and barriers such as fencing, walls, gates, and design structures to guide people along an intended public route while discouraging or denying access to private areas.


Choosing fencing that will serve its purpose around access control, but will not hinder natural surveillance as needed; this can be achieved with open type fencing such as chain-link and metal ornamental/security style fencing. Open fencing does not obstruct visibility, is harder to climb, and is less susceptible to graffiti.


Planting thorny vegetation around vulnerable windows, walls, etc.; this vegetation can help keep people away from an area or access point, and can be effective in prevention of graffiti.

Design Features

Eliminating design features that provide access to the roof or upper levels.

Door Construction

Making sure all residential exterior doors are of solid-core construction and secured by a deadbolt with a minimum 1 inch (2.54cm) throw; this is also important for the adjoining door between the house and the interior of an attached garage. Using metal strike plates (where a deadbolt enters the door frame) secured by 3 inch (7.62cm) screws.

Lock Windows and Doors

Installing steel deadbolts, with a throw of at least one inch, at the top and bottom of the inactive door of a set of double doors. Using an overlapping astragal on apartment or business double doors; the metal astragal covers the gap where the doors come together to prevent tampering with the lock or prying between the two doors.

Installing anti-lift and anti-slide devices on windows and patio doors. There are numerous locking and blocking devices available that will prevent a sliding door or window from being lifted or forced horizontally.

  • Inexpensive wooden dowels and sticks work well for horizontal sliding windows, and through-the-frame pins are effective for vertical sliding windows.
  • The least expensive and easiest method for anti-lift precautions in windows and sliding glass doors, is to install screws halfway into the upper track of the movable glass panel to prevent it from being lifted out in the closed position.