Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design

Crime Prevention Though Environmental Design (CPTED) is a planning and public safety design strategy used to deter crime in the built environment.

Crime Prevention Though Environmental Design (CPTED) is a planning and public safety design strategy used to deter crime in a built environment. It is a collaborative review process by city officials in the building, zoning, and public safety departments, as well as developers and architects. In the Using Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design in Problem-Solving, Diane Zahm said, “Crime prevention through environmental design is an approach to problem-solving that considers environmental conditions and the opportunities they offer for crime or other unintended and undesirable behaviors.”

Mollie Krehnke, a senior information security consultant, wrote an article titled: Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. The article discusses how CPTED can be incorporated into the municipal and corporate design review process. Krehnke states that CPTED reviews are not a standard practice in municipal and corporate development projects, but input before the plan is reviewed can save the owner a significant amount of money and time. She outlines how CPTED can be incorporated into the design process for development projects.

Krehnke believes that Crime Prevention Through Urban Design should be incorporated into the design review process at the Schematic Design review phase, and later during the Design Development phase. For each review phase using the principles of CPTED, she outlines what the reviewer should consider when reviewing the plans.  Krehnke states: The Schematic Design level of the design presents a list of the requirements regarding the intended uses of the property. This document includes the general site organization, including the building location, parking location, site entrances and exits, and building entrances and exits.

CPTED concerns are: How will the development affect the existing neighborhood and how will the neighborhood affect the security of the development? These relationships will affect later decisions regarding access control measures, surveillance opportunities from various locations on and adjacent to the site, design details and policies regarding use.

The Design Development level of design lists the size and shape of buildings, parking and other site features. Building structural features defined at this time include plumbing, lighting, and communications systems and door and window types and locations.

CPTED concerns are: What are the design influences with regard to opportunities for crime, particularly the location of “public” and “private” activities, automobile and pedestrian routes, and the use of landscaping to provide places of concealment or reduce surveillance opportunities. Other features that have to be considered are the placement of fences, walls, dumpsters, signs and graphics and lighting.

Inkster, Michigan is located in central Wayne County and is approximately 17 miles west of Detroit, Michigan. Inkster incorporates Crime Prevention Through Urban Design principals in their development review process. The Inkster Police Department is proactive when dealing with crime prevention. Currently, all new site development plans are reviewed by the Crime Prevention Unit of the Police Department for safety recommendations. These reviews and recommendations incorporate the principals of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design. The Department also goes an extra step in proactive crime prevention by providing extra surveillance of homes and businesses while residents or business owners are away on vacation or business.

Those in Michigan State University Extension that focus on land use provide various training programs on planning and zoning, which are available to be presented in your county. Contact your local land use educator for more information.

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