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Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design Essay

According to Atlas (2008), Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is a multidisciplinary approach to prevent criminal behavior through environmental design. In order to achieve deterrence effects of criminal behavior, CPTED strategies have been designed to rely on their ability to influence offender’s decision that precedes criminal acts. Therefore CPTED can be seen as an approach to problem solving that takes into account the environmental conditions and the opportunities they offer for criminal behavior occurrence (Cornish and Clarke 1986).

Thereafter, it utilizes those perceived opportunities responsible for causing crimes to control access, provide opportunity to see and to be seen and defines ownership while encouraging territory maintenance (Luedtke et al, 1970). In this context CPTED approach to criminology differs greatly from other policing approaches in the sense that CPTED focuses on design in crime prevention unlike other approaches that employ target hardening. Furthermore, CPTED encourage crime prevention through design and place, while policing values effective response to crime incidences by identification and arresting the offenders (Kruger and Liebermann, 2001).

In this regard, crime prevention through environmental design can be considered to be slightly different from traditional policing, but its consistent with problem- oriented policing in four ways: first, touches on the broad scope of problem and not crime only; second, involves systematic analysis of crime factors, events and conditions that fosters crime occurrence; third, leads to design of proactive strategies tailored to problem and the specific geographical locations; fourth, involves all stakeholders and makes them active participants for the program for sake of long–term achievement and improvement (Cornish and Clarke 1986).

However, it should be noted that CPTED approach focus on design and not safety, and on productive use not security. Therefore this unique focus makes it people centered as opposed to the view that it is police responsibility. However, the tool of design and techniques fall purview of policing prompting it to be a team effort, and thus police participate in the program but do not necessarily control. Historical evolution since 1970s

The origin and formulation leading to emergence of CPTED was initially done by criminologist Jeffery Ray who termed it as defensible space and later on it was improved on by architect Newman Oscar (Jeffery1977; Newman1972). It’s a point of worth to note that both Newman and Jeffery were building on the work of Elizabeth Wood. By 1990s Jeffery and Newman models were expanded to involve a multidisciplinary with Newman`s model limiting itself to the built environment.

But by 2004, the adopted CPTED model s were those of Newman and Crowe, since Jeffery model was more of psychology and biology and could not fully support the 2nd generation CPTED (Jeffery1977; Newman1972; Crowe, 2000). Furthermore, in 2005 CPTED has gained internationally recognition and acceptance with dropping off Jeffery `s notion of offender’s internal environment (Jeffery1977 Crowe, 2000). The theoretically foundation evolution of CPTED can be traced back in 1960s when Elizabeth Wood developed guidelines aimed at addressing security issues when she was working with Chicago housing authority (Clarke, 1992).

In her guidelines, she emphasized on the design that would lead to supporting natural surveillability, though Elizabeth’s ideas were never implemented, they evolved into simple implementation such as street lights to distinguish between outlaws and thieves from legitimate travelers (Luedtke et al, 1970). Today, evolution of theories and research behind CPTED design are rooted in the environmental criminology theories which explain the relationship between place and crime; and also borrow some ideas from rational theories focusing on situational prevention (Clarke, 1992).

Both cluster of theories focus on the crime events and how criminal understand and use environmental to their advantage to commit crimes. This evolution in research and theoretical foundation has played a central role in informing strategic design to employ. Strategies utilized in CPTED Strategies formulation in relation to CPTED approach are rooted in the theoretical foundation and scholarly research conducted by criminologists. Crowe (2000) reports that the central tenet used to arrive at the strategies is the analysis of crime and the environment where it occur using an analytic question “why here”.

Furthermore, such analyses have proved that: crimes are specific and situational; crime distribution correlates to land use and transport network; and offenders are usually optimistic and commits crime in place they know well (Atlas, 2008). Moreover, these analyses reveal that opportunities for crime arise out of daily activities and crime places that are often without observer. In reaction to the analyses, criminologists who are proponents of CPTED designed necessary strategies in line with the findings.

These are; Natural surveillance, target hardening, terrestrial reinforcement and natural access control (Newman1972; Crowe, 2000) Territorial reinforcement This is physical design that extends a sphere of influence that enhances users to develop sense of territorial control while potential criminals are discouraged while perceiving these controls (Goldstein, 1990). This is promoted and facilitated by features defining property line such as public and private, signs, pavement designs, or gardens well maintained indicate someone takes care of it.

This ensures that only persons that belong to a particular place are their. Target hardening Target hardening strategy in CPTED is usually accomplished by features that prohibit access or entry (Kruger and Liebermann, 2001). These features can include locks, interior door hinges or dead bolt for door, gates units points of entry to certain place, fences, trees line, support of alarm system is also useful and can reinforce the design (Cohen, 1979). Natural surveillance

These are programs designed aiming at keeping offenders or intruders observable, this is attained by place design that gives an opportunity to see site perimeter or designs that facilitate to see or/and be seen (Kruger and Liebermann, 2001). It is usually achieved through sufficient lighting that enables to observe activities and individuals, building location and orientation, windows that offer two way views. The design features that facilitate natural surveillance need to be supported by observer or CCTV to maximize its effectiveness (Atlas, 2008). Natural access control

This strategy aims at decreasing crime opportunity by employing design that denies access to crime targets while at the same time creating a risk perception in criminals (Goldstein, 1990). The strategy is achieved through street designs like side walks, entrance construction and neighbor’s gates; in order to prohibit entrance to private places that discourages ill motives. However, the essence and usefulness of the strategies used in CPTED is not in their effective design, but rather in their implementation and application to offer desired goal (Cornish and Clarke 1986).

It`s indisputable that application of CPTED to community has resulted to impressive results that Atlas (2008) reports that accounts to 40% decline in crimes occurrence and prevalence in areas where it has been implemented, this has been accrued to design that minimizes criminal behaviors while encouraging individuals to keep eye on each other, therefore proper implementation is critical to program success. Application and Implementation of CPTED The problem solving approach that uses CPTED is applied in a series of steps that are designed to respond to: what is the problem?

Why here? What can be done to solve it? And how well do we solve the problem? (Kruger and Liebermann, 2001) In order to address and satisfy these hypothetical questions in analyzing a crime scene to inform prevention through CPTED approach, application and implementation is usually done through four phases. These four phases of application as stipulated by Goldstein (1990) are: scanning, analyzing, response and assessment (Table1. Application and implementation phases).

These phases of application and implementation stages addresses environmental design issues that are critical to applying CPTED strategies in order to solve security problems. Importantly, various factors ought to be considered when applying the program in relation to specific locations and circumstances. As Atlas (2008) acknowledges, easy said than done also do apply to implementation of CPTED program. Challenges in implementing CPTED Like any other project, implementation is usually engulfed in normal problems that face any change process not mentioning resistance.

However, the major problems that can be conceptualized in the implementation process of CPTED program are two. First, time allocation for the program implementation may hamper realization of the project goals (Cohen, 1979; Goldstein, 1990). This is in the sense that sometimes time allocated for the implementation of the program may require additional of a longer duration as a result of complexities arising from project implementation while impacting a larger geographical area with a larger number of stakeholders (Table2.

Stakeholders involved in CPTED implementation). Secondly, the cost of implementing CPTED program requires significant capital investment (Cohen, 1979) that is really a barrier. However, the challenges of implementation are inventible, yet they can be solved through efficient and effective leadership, increased participation and involvement, and wider consultation with all stakeholders for any given CPTED program.

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