Crime prevention through environmental design

Crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) is an idea that has been received with mixed feelings. Developed by criminologist Ray Jeffery, it focuses on behavioural psychology and the relationship between people and the environment. It is a multi disciplinary approach to deterring criminal behaviour through environmental design. It places emphasis on proactive prevention of crime rather than reactive prevention of crime. Although many proponents of the theory have laid claims to its effectiveness, there are still some short comings.

For a person who lives in an area with high incidence of violence,theft and burglary, CPTED may not be a workable idea. Implementing CPTED in an area is cost intensive and may require extensive modification. CPTED creates a gated community effect whereby residents in an area hardly interact with each other. This leads to residents having little or no knowledge of their neighbours. Who knows, the burglar may live across the street. CPTED is not an effective method for the prevention of irrational crime, where criminals say, under the influence of drugs act without reasoning. Violent primal behaviour and theft has been linked to drug use.

Implementing CPTED in an area with a high crime rate may only succeed in displacing criminals to other areas nearby. There, they can organize and return to carry out criminal acts due to their knowledge of the area. On the other hand, they may remain, become more desperate and more creative in their approach to crime. The reactive prevention of crime approach is the best for such an area. Criminals are apprehended, prosecuted and sent to prison. The most important aspect of this approach is that criminals are put away and offered no opportunity to commit crime for a long time.