Crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) is an idea originally propagated by criminologist Ray Jeffrey. The idea posits that criminal behaviour can be prevented through environmental design. The strategies of CPTED are based on the possibility of influencing offender decisions that precede criminal acts. This idea has been adopted with mixed success. Jane Jacobs (1961) in her book posited that the lack of “natural guardianship promoted crime. Jacobs argued that crime flourishes when people don’t interact meaningfully with their neighbours.
One of the factors against CPTED is that many existing built up areas where not designed with CPTED in mind and modifying such places will prove cost intensive and may require extensive changes in the design of the existing environment. Building new areas will require extensive design. This will translate into a higher construction cost. It has also been argued that CPTED is a panacea to crime and that it will displace criminals to nearby locations where it is absent.
This means just moving criminal activity to another area instead of ending it. Gated communities are created where residents hardly interact and individual freedom is restricted. Sceptics of CPTED argue that irrational offenders are not deterred by the strategies adopted by CPTED. While it may be argued that having bars on windows is a good idea it becomes a problem in the eventuality of a fire outbreak. People should do whatever it takes to prevent crime. Cozens, P.
M et al (2005) concludes that there is a growing body of research that supports the assertion that crime prevention through environmental design is effective in both crime and fear of crime in the community. Though expensive to implement, research has shown that the potential benefits of CPTED in the long run outweigh the costs. Reference. 1) Cozens, P. M, et al (2005) Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED): a review of modern bibliographies, Property Management Journal.