CPTED: Crime Prevention through Environmental Design

This is an internationally recognised approach to landscaping. Although there is no universal or prescriptive method for designing out crime, the approach takes into account the fact that the way that landscapes are spatially formed and detailed can have a serious impact on their real and perceived safety. CPTED generally includes five key principles:

  1. Natural Surveillance: ‘See and be seen’ is the overall goal. A person is less likely to commit a crime if they think someone will see them do it. People also tend to feel safer in environments where they can see potential criminals approaching, and where any crime committed against them may be witnessed by others. 
  2. Access Control: Walkways, fences, lighting, signage and landscape are used to clearly guide people and vehciles to and from the proper entrances. The goal is not necessarily to keep intruders out, but to direct the flow of people while decreasing the opportunity for crime.
  3. Territorial Reinforcement: Creating or extending a ‘sphere of influence’ by utilising physical designs such as pavement treatments, landscaping and signage that enable users to develop a sense of proprietorship over it: Public areas are clearly distinguished from private ones. Potential trespassers perceive this control and are thereby discouraged.
  4. Target Hardening: The installation of physical barriers, camera surveillance systems and other hard security measures to prevent or provide early detection and response to criminal activity. This is the ultimate crime prevention and management measure, and may create a sense of fear and insecurity to users.
  5. Management and Maintenance: The ‘Broken Window Theory’ suggests that one ‘broken window’, if allowed to exist, will lead to others and ultimately to the decline of an entire neighbourhood. Neglected and poorly maintained properties are breeding grounds for criminal activity.

These principles can be applies at any scale, from an individual household garden to an entire neighbourhood, city block or park.

Text Taken from: “Green Landscaping Guideline“. Part of the Greening Durban 2012 series published by the Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department of Ethekwini Municipality


2 thoughts on “CPTED

  1. Sensible Plants for Security – these ideas are from the various experts in our area:

    Planting indigenous thorny plants on your perimeter and in your garden have multiple advantages. A thick, thorny barrier is impossible to get through, even with wire cutters or a ladder. It also seriously impedes a quick getaway when chased. Indigenous thorn bushes provide a haven for birds to build their nests and also provide food for birds, butterflies and insects. This results in a massive increase in wildlife in your garden and contributes to a healthy eco-system.

    Recommended thorny plants to be planted are as follows :
    i. Carissa macrocarpa (amutungulu)
    ii. Dovyalis caffra (kei apple)
    iii. Scutia myrtina (cat thorn)
    iv. Maytenus heterophyllla (spike thorn)
    v. Barleria rotundifolia (lowveld barleria)
    vi. Asparagus falcatus (yellowwood asparagus)
    vii. Acacia kraussiana (coast climbing thorn)

    Small thorn trees planted at the corners of the fence act as a further barrier as these trees will literally hold onto anyone who happens to run into them.
    viii. Acacia nigrescens (Knobwood)
    ix. Ziziphus mucronata (Buffalo thorn)Acacia karoo (Sweet thorn)

    A very useful website link for those of you who wish to learn more on the subject of using the environment to design out crime :

    Jill – Gillitts Park Community Assoc. (www.gillittspark.co.za)

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s