Techniques to Reduce Security Claims; Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) emphasizes using the structures, spaces, lighting and people around an area to prevent crime and to increase loss prevention. Accomplishing this task is not an easy one; architects attempt to beautify, and engineers attempt to increase efficiency. While all stakeholders must be responsive to meeting the objectives of the safety and security programs, CPTED concepts and strategies should be identified in consultation with security staff.

A CPTED survey identifies exposures within the enterprises built and natural environments and recommends enhancements that reduce risks to people, operations and facilities. The survey is a component of the risk assessment process and focuses on identifying human behaviors, along with other potential exposures within specific areas. Survey findings identify solutions that, if implemented, enhance the safety and security of various industries

CPTED involves the design use of five strategies: natural surveillance; natural access control; territorial reinforcement (using buildings, fences, pavement, signs and landscaping to express ownership); activity support (placing the right activity in the space); and maintenance (addressing the inspection, repair and general housekeeping of the space). Accepted CPTED industry strategies are described below:

  • Natural surveillance. This strategy involves reducing crime by decreasing target opportunities in a space/area by placing physical features, activities and people to maximize visibility.
  • Natural access control. Channeling people into, alongside or out of spaces/areas and deterring entry elsewhere along the boundary are the concepts of this principle (through the judicial placement of entrances, exits, fencing, landscaping and lighting); This concept denies access to crime targets and creates a perception of risk for adversaries.
  • Territoriality. Territoriality notifies users and non-users of the boundaries of a space/area or facility. It creates a psychological deterrent to crime by notifying users of the space/area/facility that they are being watched and that the community is the space/area/facility for purposeful activities.

Other CPTED Elements
Maintenance and activity support aspects have been added to CPTED as of recent, but are often treated separately because they are not physical design elements within the built environment.

  • Activity support. By encouraging authorized activities in public spaces, guests of a business understand its intended use. Criminal acts are discouraged, and an increase in safety and security of the immediate area is realized.
  • Maintenance. Care and upkeep demonstrates expression of ownership for the intended purpose of the area. A lack of care indicates loss of control of a space or area and can be a sign of tolerance for disorder. The Broken Windows Theory is a valuable tool in understanding the importance of maintenance in deterring crime. Broken Windows theory proponents support a zero tolerance approach to property maintenance, observing that the presence of a broken window will entice vandals to break more windows in the vicinity. The sooner broken windows are fixed, the less likely it is that such vandalism will occur in the future. Establishing care and maintenance standards and continuing the service preserves the intended use of the space/area. CPTED maintenance and care standards also safeguard the best interests of the community and the enterprise.
CPTED Strategies and Applications
Daniel Loo

Mr. Loo has over 15 years of experience of military and private sector security experience, in tactical as well as strategic functions. Mr. Loo provides Enterprise Security Risk Management for the design, direction, development and procurement of security systems and countermeasures. His experience also includes physical security evaluations and surveys within the Restaurant, Lodging and Hospitality industries and Daniel has been involved in hiring of security personnel for bars, restaurants and hotels. Mr. Loo understands security requirement analysis, conceptual design, construction documents, security contractor evaluations, field services, and coordination and project management of security projects. Mr. Loo also provides expert testimony on security-related issues for law firms.

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