Kingston Police

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CPTED is a design based crime prevention approach. CPTED can be applied to businesses, such as shopping malls and industrial/commercial parks, residential areas, schools, institutions, parks and playgrounds. It is based on a simple theory; that the proper design and effective use of the physical environment can help reduce the incidence and fear of crime.


A CPTED approach can involve basic changes, such as turning a store manager's desk around so that they can observe the sales floor better. CPTED generated principles and strategies can be both practical and cost effective.


CPTED practitioners make use of a number of time honoured strategies that are derived from the three main concepts.  The following represents a list of the most beneficial and often considered strategies:


  • Provide clear border definition of controlled space.
  • Provide clearly marked transitional zones which indicated movement from semi-public to private space.
  • Locate gathering areas in places that benefit from natural surveillance and access control. 
  • Place safe activities in “unsafe” (vulnerable) locations to increase the natural surveillance of these locations.  This will increase the perception of safety within these areas while increasing the perception of risk in offenders. An example of this strategy is illustrated by the indoor recreation centre that was strategically placed at the rear of a high rise residential building that had been experiencing problems. The problems were eliminated once the centre was opened.
  • Place “unsafe” (vulnerable) activities in safe spots to overcome the vulnerability of these activities with the natural surveillance and access control of the safe area. An example of this strategy is illustrated by the kindergarten play area contained within this school courtyard which was protected by a roof.
  • Designate the use of space to provide natural barriers to conflicting activities.
  • Improve scheduling of space to allow for effective use and appropriate critical intensity.
  • Design space to increase the perception or reality of natural surveillance.  An example of this strategy is illustrated by the homes in this subdivision which are oriented towards the entrance to the cul-de-sac the homes are found on. 
  • Orient driveways and paths towards natural forms of surveillance such as building entrances and windows.


A working knowledge of CPTED strategies can be used as a source of Ideas for incorporating its principles.  A CPTED analysis should be conducted before CPTED principles are applied.


For more information visit CPTED ( or contact our Community Programs Officer.