GovernmentLivingClick to HomeVisitorBusiness
HomePrint PageEmail PageTwitterFacebookRSS
Go To Search
Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design
Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, or CPTED (pronounced sep-ted), is a crime prevention philosophy based on the theory that proper design and effective use of the built environment can lead to a reduction in the fear and incidence of crime, as well as an improvement in the quality of life.

To learn more about CPTED or request a FREE CPTED review please contact the Crime Prevention Unit at 623-333-7342.


The best time to apply this philosophy is in the design phase, before a building or neighborhood is built. You can also successfully apply it later, but retrofitting an existing environment can sometimes be costly.

The use of CPTED will reduce crime and fear by reducing criminal opportunity and fostering positive social interaction among legitimate users of space. A legitimate user means one who is using a space for its intended purpose. The emphasis is on prevention rather than apprehension and punishment.

There are three basic and overlapping principles in the CPTED concept. In order to get a better understanding of the concept, let us consider these:

Natural Surveillance:
We need to create environments where there is plenty of opportunity for people engaged in their normal behavior to observe the space around them.

By designing the placement of physical features, activities and people in such a way to maximize visibility, natural surveillance occurs.

Natural Access Control:
Most criminal intruders will try to find a way into an area where they will not be easily observed. Limiting access and increasing natural surveillance keeps them out altogether or marks them as an intruder.

By selectively placing entrances and exits, fencing, lighting and landscape to control the flow of or limit access, natural access control occurs.

Natural Territorial Reinforcement:
An environment designed to clearly delineate private space does two things. First, it creates a sense of ownership. Owners have a vested interest and are more likely to challenge intruders or report them to the police. Second, the sense of owned space creates an environment where "strangers" or "intruders" stand out and are more easily identified.

By using buildings, fences, pavement, signs, lighting and landscape to express owners and define public, semi-public and private space, natural territorial reinforcement occurs.



Police Department Home