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Crime Prevention through Environmental Design

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is based on the premise that the proper design and effective use of the built environment can lead to a reduction in the incidence and fear of crime, and an improvement in the quality of life.

  • CPTED Key Components
  • Natural Surveillance
  • Natural Access Control
  • Territorial Reinforcement
  • Maintenance

Natural Surveillance - The placement of physical features, activities, and people in a way that maximizes visibility. Unobstructed windows, adequate lighting, and well-tended landscaping can all help.

Natural Access Control - The physical guidance of people coming and going from a space by the strategic placement of entrances, exits, fencing, landscaping, and lighting.

Territorial Reinforcement - The use of physical attributes that express ownership, such as fences, pavement treatments, art, signage, and lighting.

Maintenance - The care that allows for the continued use of a space for its intended purpose. It prevents reduced visibility due to plant overgrowth and obstructed or inoperative lighting, while serving to express ownership.


CPTED surveys can include entire communities, or upon request, individual homes. CPTED techniques are useful in addition to traditional crime prevention methods, such as good locks and alarm systems. Together, these crime prevention measures can help to improve the quality of life by reducing the fear of crime. The following are a few of the more common recommendations and neighborhood ideas.

  • Be aware of who should and who should not be in the vicinity. Design lighting, landscaping, windows, and fences to promote visibility.
  • Provide a sense of ownership over a space by clearly marking transitions from public to private spaces. Do this with signs, fences, borders, art, etc.
  • Increase perception of pride and reduce fear by maintaining an area to the highest standard.
  • Remove or disguise intimidating security measures such as barbed wire and "burglar" bars.

Since the dynamics of each neighborhood are unique, CPTED recommendations for one may not be suitable for another. Therefore, consider the conditions and characteristics of the surrounding area when applying CPTED concepts.


Multi-family complexes, such as apartments, condominiums, and townhouses present different opportunities for CPTED applications. Again, the surrounding areas play an integral part in the overall security picture. The following are some common examples of multi-family site recommendations.

  • Create or modify designs so that visibility is maximized. Modifications may include lighting, landscaping, and the placement of windows and common areas.
  • Limit the number of access points and, when appropriate, install gates and/or guards to restrict passage.
  • Provide occupants with the opportunity to personalize their units and adjacent yards to provide and display a sense of ownership.
  • Maintain all properties to the highest practical standards, particularly common areas. Quickly address any signs of blight or decay (like graffiti or abandoned cars). Avoid using barbed wire and other intimidating security measures.
  • Provide easily monitored and highly visible play areas for children.


The four key CPTED concepts of surveillance, access control, territorial reinforcement and maintenance are applicable in commercial and institutional settings. These include offices, stores, churches, schools, and warehouses. CPTED strategies complement traditional crime prevention techniques. CPTED solutions may reduce crime while allowing legitimate users, such as customers, clients, and employees to feel more comfortable. Some common CPTED recommendations for commercial and institutional sites include the following:

  • Design and maintain the site to maximize visibility day and night.
  • Clearly define entrances and exits.
  • Delineate between public space, such as streets, and privately controlled space such as parking lots and commercial property.
  • Keep the property well maintained at all times. Immediately remove or paint over graffiti. Do not allow trash or debris to accumulate.
  • Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) assessments of properties and neighborhoods are not intended to make the sites "crime proof." However, properly applied CPTED strategies and directives should reduce the probability of crime. CPTED recommendations seldom conflict with traditional forms of crime prevention, such as security systems, area and neighborhood watch groups, and target-hardening techniques.


For further information, please contact:

Fort Wayne Police Department
1 E. Main Street 
(260) 427-1222


Department of Planning Services
200 E. Berry Street, Suite 150
Ft. Wayne, Indiana 46802
(260) 449-7607

Department of Planning Services

Contact Info

Suite 150 Citizen Square
200 East Berry Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46802
M-F 8am - 5:00pm

Phone 260.449.7607
Fax 260.449.7682

Director of Redevelopment
Elissa M. McGauley, AICP

Executive Director
Benjamin J. Roussel