CPTED and It’s Benefits Part Three – Territoriality

CPTED and its Benefits

By Steve Wade-Peace of Mind Systems Ltd.

In the last article I discussed what CPTED (Sep-Ted) or Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design was about and introduce the second principle: NATURAL ACCESS CONTROL It is now time to go to the next level which is TERRITORIALITY.  This one is really interesting since it really gets into the cues that we send to those who may not have the best of intentions. This is where the business or homeowner can demonstrate a “sphere of influence” beyond the front door. We talk about the 3 D’s in this part of the process: DESIGNATION, DEFINITION AND DESIGN. All human space has a DESIGNED purpose and has social, cultural, legal, physical DEFINITIONS that can predict desirable and acceptable behavior. It is designed to support and control those desired behaviors

  • Proper use of space: Is the space being used as it was DESIGNATED? What was the space’s purpose? (how is it supposed to be used?)
  • How could this space be used? (good and bad)
  • Are there predictors to how wanted and unwanted users would interact with this space?
  • How well does the space support its current use or intended use?
  • How is that space DEFINED?
  • Is it clear who owns it?
  • Where are its boundaries?
  • Are there enforceable rules clearly set out and are they enforced?
  • Is signage present?
  • Is there any conflict with how it was designated and how it is defined?
  • How does the DESIGN of that space line up with its DESIGNATION and its DEFINITION?
  • Does the physical design support the intended function?
  • How well does the design support the desired behavior in that space?
  • Does the physical design conflict with or impede the productive use of space or its intended use?
  • Is there a conflict or any confusion in the manner in which the DESIGN is intended to control behavior?

As you can see there are many variables in this aspect of CPTED, and to be quite honest, that is what I love about this. It really opens one’s mind to how we intend to use a space and how the eventual use may be completely different than what was originally intended. Take a look around your businesses and if you have graffiti, broken fences, broken or cracked windows, peeling paint, beat up planters etc. All of these things can contribute to the improper use of space. Do you have areas where no one can see? Are those areas well lit or are they a black hole? Do you have bushes around doors and windows that are looking a bit worse for wear? This again plays into how spaces get turned into something that we had no intentions of creating.

This all comes down to awareness and how you, the business owner can control how an area is used just by demonstrating that you own your space, you have claimed your space and you will defend that space. That, my friends, is how you change the game.

Using the same example as last week you can see how claiming a space can transform the messaging that it is delivering. In the Before picture, you cannot see the windows, you can barely see the door and the tree at the left side would block any view from a neighboring property. Having no view from anywhere would allow someone to work in total anonymity and they wouldn’t stand out. If you were out patrolling for somewhere to break into and you saw these clues, what would you do? Lighting would have been limited, visibility would be limited from the sides and it honestly looks as if the homeowner doesn’t really care. They might just be a very busy family, but the home itself says the occupants aren’t aware of the messages their home is broadcasting to the world….without even saying a word. The same applies to vehicles folks. The car is the gateway to the house. If you are leaving valuables in your car, you are not locking your vehicles and securing the things that you value, it is just a matter of time before someone takes those cues and acts on them.

In the After picture, the doorway is clear. The bushes are cut back, the tree on the left has been altered. There is a light standard that wasn’t there before. The pathway is clearly marked, and the driveway is clear. The house now announces that the homeowners clearly have a high standard of upkeep to their home. There are no blind spots that existed before. The lighting illuminates anyone who comes to the door. The anonymity has been removed. That cue has been calmed. If you were out patrolling for somewhere to break into and you saw these cues, what would you do?

There is so much more that can be discussed than space allows, so if you would like to know more about this, I encourage you to reach out to our Crime Prevention team through the www.Kamloops.ca website  (Go under Safety and Bylaws and simply select Crime Prevention.) or even drop me a line at Steve@peaceofmindsystems.com. Next up, the last piece of the puzzle: Maintenance and Management.