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Strategy: CPTED for Subways

Strategy Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is used to build a subway environment that deters the opportunity for . . .


Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is used to build a subway environment that deters the opportunity for crime.

Crime Problem Addressed

The use of CPTED in subway construction will help deter and control all types of crime and help create an environment that is clean, well-lighted, and safe.

Key Components

CPTED is action to design the physical environment in ways that reduce or remove identifiable crime risks. Because of the cost of subway construction, it is vital to incorporate CPTED into the original design. A security design group should include architects, security and police, and the subway authority. Other cities where CPTED was a design component of the subway can provide input. CPTED design principles should address visibility, access control, lighting, security hardware, landscaping, resistance to vandalism, and maintenance.

Key Participants

Incorporating CPTED subway construction requires participation from security and police, architects, builders, and the subway authority.

Potential Obstacles

It may be difficult to interest and organize the variety of individuals and professions necessary to incorporate CPTED into subway design. Many see CPTED as having high up-front costs. CPTED works best with new construction. CPTED for existing facilities is more complicated and costly.

Signs of Success

The Washington, D.C., subway opened in the early 1970s. Because of the fear of crime, CPTED became one of the more important design components of the system. It was designed to discourage crime by providing excellent visibility, good lighting, and vandal-resistant materials. The subway has had fewer than five murders and averages about 100 robberies per year, many of which take place around bus stops and not in the subway (Washington Metro Crime Prevention Unit, 1993).

Applying the Strategy

CPTED changes implemented by the New York Transit Authority have substantially increased the overall perception of security by passengers. Unfortunately, because the changes modified existing construction, they were very expensive. As the Washington subway continues to grow, CPTED remains a primary design requirement to keep passengers safe.

From 350 Tested Strategies to Prevent Crime: A Resource for Municipal Agencies and Community Groups

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