Territorial reinforcement

Does anyone care what happens here? Territorial reinforcement works to distinguish a division between public and private space, and to display a sense of responsibility and investment in an area.

How it works

If there is no perception of territorial reinforcement, the likelihood of undesirable or criminal activity occurring in that area may increase. Territoriality fails when it appears that no one is maintaining an area or claiming ownership. In short, no one cares what happens there.

Proper use of territorial reinforcement techniques helps to create the perception of being in someone else’s space. This perception of territoriality can provide a deterrent to potential criminals, as the area is seen as a place that someone cares about and may observe and report criminal activity.

Ways to increase territorial reinforcement

Incorporating features that define property lines and distinguish between private and public spaces; these features are not necessarily meant to keep people out, but to provide a visual and psychological cue and create that sense of ownership.

  • Installing a small picket-style fence or a short wall or hedge to run around the edge of your property.
  • Using sidewalk or pavement treatments, such as interlocking bricks, paving stones, or coatings to provide a distinctly different look from the public street or sidewalk.
  • Maintaining the premises and landscaping so that it communicates an alert and active presence of ownership in the space; owners have a vested interest and are more likely to challenge intruders or report them to the police, and the sense of owned space creates an environment where strangers or intruders stand out and are more easily identified.
  • Placing amenities and scheduling activities in common areas of buildings and properties to attract more desired users and increase proper use of the areas; this can increase the perception of territory, ownership, and control.