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Strategy: CPTED Ordinances/Guidelines

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design


An ordinance or guideline establishes local Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) standards.

Crime Problem Addressed

CPTED ordinances address a broad range of violent and property crimes, including robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, auto theft, vandalism, and drug dealing.

Key Components

CPTED is action to design the physical environment in ways that reduce or remove identifiable crime risks. The following steps are involved:

(1) Organize a small group representing planning, zoning, building, and crime prevention to develop the CPTED initiative.

(2) Provide CPTED training to the planning group and orientations to the police department, community groups, business leaders, and economic development officials.

(3) Develop a list of CPTED initiatives to incorporate into zoning, redevelopment, or economic development. They should address lighting, security hardware, street and building access control, visibility, and landscaping.

Key Participants

CPTED ordinances require a partnership that includes government leaders and planning staff, police, community groups, architects, and developers.

Potential Obstacles

It may be difficult to interest and organize the variety of individuals and professions necessary to develop a CPTED ordinance. Many see CPTED as having high up-front costs. CPTED works best with new construction. CPTED for existing structures and neighborhoods will be more involved and costly.

Signs of Success

CPTED guidelines that began as a plan to reduce crime in the North Trail Neighborhood in Sarasota, Florida, became an accepted part of the local planning process. The guidelines helped created active, attractive, and safe streets. The Ringling School of Art and Design, which was in an unsafe neighborhood, developed a strong sense of place and was treated with respect following remodeling using CPTED design guidelines. Litter was reduced and sculptures placed in open view were not defaced (Catalyst, National Crime Prevention Council, Oct. 1993).

Applying the Strategy

Sarasota, Florida, organized a CPTED Task Force under the authority of the city manager. It recommended amending the city's zoning law to establish a special zoning district where CPTED was a major component in business revitalization. Later, a resolution in support of CPTED for all city land development and redevelopment projects was adopted.

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

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