Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design

January 8, 2001

Los Angeles – The Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) premise is that the proper design and effective use of public and private space can lead to a reduction in the incidence and fear of crime, reduction in calls for police service and to an increase in the quality of life within a community. The term CPTED is used to describe a series of physical design characteristics that maximize resident control of criminal behavior within a residential community. The same design concepts improve the ability of police to monitor activities within the community. Three CPTED strategies are natural surveillance, natural access control and territorial reinforcement. Additionally, design recommendations include natural surveillance/visual connection, natural access, territorial reinforcement/fostering a sense of ownership, landscaping/fencing and lighting.

CPTED Strategies

Provide clear border definition of controlled space (e.g., fences, hedges, paving patterns and low walls). Avoid unassigned space. As much as possible, all space should become the clear responsibility of someone.
Relocate gathering areas to locations that provide natural surveillance and access control, as opposed to locations away from the view of would-be offenders. For example, all play areas should be located within the central common area of the building, thereby allowing occupants to glance at or actively watch children at play.
Place activities in locations where the natural surveillance of these activities will increase the perception of safety for legitimate users and risk for offenders. For example, well-used common areas may overlook a parking area to provide additional security for the parking area.

Commander Sharon Papa, Department spokesperson, stated, "Application of CPTED in combination with other Department crime prevention programs will help reduce crime and fear in the community. There are many more helpful hints and facts outlined in the LAPD’s "Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design monthly circular.
For more information, or to obtain copies of Crime Prevention Circulars, contact the Community Liaison/Crime Prevention Unit, at 213-485-3134.
This press release was produced by Officer Charles P. Rodriguez, Media Relations Section at 213-485-3586.