What is CPTED?

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (pronounced SEP-TED) is a concept that involves several proven methods of reducing opportunities for crime. The concept of CPTED is a proactive approach where the focus of reducing crime from the criminal element to that of the environment in which the potential victim lives and works. Being able to anticipate or recognize vulnerabilities and crime risks provides valuable input into how an environment should be design and operated.

CPTED in defined as the "proper design and effective use of the built environment that can lead to a reduction in the fear and incidence of crime and an improvement in the quality of life.

CPTED is based on these for overlapping strategies:

      1. Natural Surveillance
      2. Natural Access Control
      3. Territorial Reinforcement
      4. Maintenance

Natural Surveillance

Whether from windows, security cameras, lighting, or personal vision, increasing the chance of exposure is a deterrent to criminal activity.

Territorial Reinforcement

This strategy is one that fosters a "vested interest" in the environment. When people feel that the area they live or work in "belongs" to them, they will be more protective and concerned about its potential for crime.

Natural Access Control

Employ elements such as doors, shrubs, fences, and gates to deny admission to an area and create a perception to the offender that there is a risk in selecting the target. Physical and mechanical means of access control (locks, bars and alarms) can supplement natural access control measures if needed.


The basic upkeep, repair and maintenance of property. Neglected property can create mis-treatment by resident and visitors, while maintained property will elicit proper treatment. This strategy directly impacts the fear of crime in a community due to its residents' perceptions of responsibility and caring in the neighborhood. Examples include the immediate removal of graffiti, landscape maintenance, weed abatement, and the painting of worn buildings. Ofter overlooked, maintenance is critical to making sure that the expense and effort invested in the first three strategies are not wasted.

How CPTED can work for you:

Plan Reviews: Advice can be given in the "blueprint" stage that will address not only CPTED strategies, but also target hardening recommendations.

Security Surveys: Conducted to make your living and workplace more secure and safe for residents, employees and customers.


How does CPTED impact me?

CPTED impacts each citizen by increasing safety, promoting secure environments and improving the appearance of neighborhoods and public amenities.

How is it accomplished?

By establishing a policy and regulatory framework for a physical design that can include:

        1. Landscape Plan
        2. Lighting Plan
        3. Access Controls
        4. Street Design
        5. Traffic Controls/Calming
        6. Demolition of Structures
        7. Community Clean-ups
        8. Sidewalk Improvements
        9. Beautification
        10. Parks Improvement
        11. Lot Cleaning
        12. Maintenance


Program Goals

The goal of CPTED is to reduce opportunities for crime that may be inherent in the design of neighborhoods.

The goal is accomplished through the involvement of CPTED trained law enforcement personnel in the planning, development and design review of community projects.

CPTED uses various tools to evaluate environmental conditions and utilize intervention methods to control human and/or criminal behavior and reduce the fear of crime.

This information is supplied by the Lawrence, Kansas Police Department Community Services Division in order to better prepare neighborhoods like yours from crime.
You can contact the Neighborhood Resource Officers at