Pros and Cons of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design

Crime prevention through environmental design’s aim is to identify social and physical environmental conditions that present criminals with opportunities for committing crimes or cause them to commit those crimes and altering the conditions to prevent the criminal acts. The reason shopping malls play annoying music on their outside or people’s skins look bad outside some stores or roads in front of the crossing zones of schools are barricaded is done through design and not through mere accident. This utilises verified principles of crime prevention: crime prevention through environmental design (Kozicki, 2008).

Although these come with costs like unattractive views, dangers of fires, etc. there is a high potential of CPTED to reduce crime. Balancing between security and aesthetics is a tricky matter. Crime design should reduce crimes and still maintain architects’ aesthetic standards (Geason & Wilson, 1989). CPTED may mean compromising beauty with ugliness. For instance, beautiful shrubs in front of buildings and with no clear lines of view, as much as they are appealing to the eyes, may provide an assaultive criminal with excellent hiding places.

The mere fact that nobody could be able to see what was happening in case such crimes of assault occur because there were no clear lines of view and perhaps poor lighting may have facilitated the crimes. This calls for compromising beauty with safety (Ruggieri, 1998). Another thing is that CPTED is expensive to implement, especially where buildings their surrounding environments have already been built without considering CPTED as they involve even demolishing some structures and restructuring them.

Also, methods like access control, which are aimed at decreasing opportunities for people to engage in criminal activities, are mostly limited to private property by use of more secure doors, locks, hinges and windows. However, applying such methods can be a lot more complicated when it comes to public or semi-public areas. Because lobbies of office buildings, schools, or apartments are mainly open to people who are ready to engage in criminal acts once they get the opportunity, the solution is naturally to employ guards to screen those entering into the facilities (Hill, 2002).

Sometimes, CPTED only serves to displace crimes to other places. For example, criminals may choose to move on to a less-protected building in case their targets’ security is enhanced. Another example can be found in the United States’ New York City. When the city’s police increased subway-surveillance, other crime cases like bus robberies rose. Also, lack of compulsory or voluntary security codes and maintenance standards and security is not part of competition between proprietors makes it hard to design out crime.

Moreover, architects’ role in planning for security is not yet widely recognised and permit officials hardly insist on it; therefore landlords rarely asks them to incorporate security in their design. Another thing is that because architects at times are not sure which people will be living in those buildings it becomes hard for them to involve the residents while designing for security, if they ever do, considering that they are usually mostly concerned with aesthetics than security aspects of the buildings (Geason & Wilson, 1989).

CPTED is sustainable in that by police sitting on planning boards to design out crime, cost-effectiveness is realised in the long run because fewer resources will be required to police the given areas. Furthermore, the changes caused by CPTED are normally permanent and their support programs never require a lot of people or lots of money. Inexpensive programmes like Neighbourhood Watch and proper management practices can support defensive design (Geason & Wilson, 1989).

CPTED is, no doubt, an important consideration when designing houses in estates so long as the design maintains, aesthetics traffic flow, ease of access and does call for too much expenses. References Geason, Susan & Wilson, Paul R. (1989). Designing out Crime: Crime Prevention through Environmental Design. ISBN 0 642 14307 2. First published in 1989 by Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra. Hill, J. D. ( 2002). Crime Prevention through Environmental Design and Community Policing. Retrieved 25 May 2010 from <http://www. calea. org/online/newsletter/No79/crimeprevention. htm>