Creating Safe Places
Authors & Project Staff
    Dr. Craig D. Uchida
    Shellie E. Solomon
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Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is a crime prevention philosophy based on the theory that the proper design and effective use of the built environment can lead to a reduction in the fear of crime as well as an improvement in the quality of life.

CPTED is a process and a way of thinking about crime. It is not a program or system of ready–made solutions. CPTED emphasizes understanding and changing the physical environment in an effort to reduce crime at particular locations.

CPTED also commonly brings together various departments in local government to examine how the physical features of an area influence and contribute to the occurrence of crime.

Why does it work?

CPTED is effective because of the concept called defensible space. This concept suggests all space in the human environment is defendable: someone may take responsibility for the space and take action to defend it from non-legitimate, criminal, or unintended use.

Alternately, space can be undefended. When there is no identifiable person who is responsible for the space, it is left exposed to criminal use. Crime is more likely to happen at an undefended location, and crime is less likely to occur in a defended area.

How does it work?

CPTED is applied in the community through one of four overlapping strategies:

• Natural Surveillance – the design of an area so as to allow the greatest visibility by citizens.
• Territorial Reinforcement – how space is defined. All space is defined as public, private, or semi-public/semi-private.
• Access Control – the physical guidance of movement to and from a place by the placement of entrances, exits, fencing, landscaping, and locks.
• Maintenance – the upkeep of an area demonstrates that someone cares and will defend the property against crime.


Since 2006 Justice & Security Strategies has worked with numerous cities and organizations to use the principles of CPTED, including:

• City of Dublin, CA
• City of San Rafael, CA
• City of Walnut Creek, CA
• City of Pittsburg, CA
• City of Visalia, CA
• City of Stockton, CA
• City of Richmond, CA
• American Planning Association-California Chapter
• California Code Enforcement Association
• San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit
• Design, Community & Environment Planning Firm
• Institute for Children, Family and Justice

Our staff has extensive experience in implementing and teaching Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. They have taught CPTED classes to police, city planners, school officials, code enforcement officers, and other municipal government workers throughout California for many years. They have extensive experience in municipal policing, where they have consulted on numerous CPTED projects with city staff, school district staff, community members, and private businesses.

What we offer

JSS provides both training and consulting services in CPTED. We customize our training to fit your organization and needs. We perform assessments on new and existing facilities and developments.