Word literature review on Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED)


Topic :Word literature review on Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED)

Write a 2 to 3 page word literature review on the topic you selected in the Unit 1 Milestone Learning Activity.

Summarize the relevant research relating to your selected research topic

Briefly summarize at least five journal articles, government reports, or databases relating to your topic – be sure to identify the sources of your statistical data


Crime Prevention through Environmental Design

There is a growing body of evidence on the effectiveness of crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) in communities. CPTED is a contemporary approach in crime prevention that focuses on discouraging criminal behavior or activities in a community through environmental design. In general, it involves establishing ways of altering the physical design of neighborhoods in ways that discourage crime. CPTED is a complex strategy and may involve a whole lot of other interventions as well. This paper reviews the recently published literature on crime prevention through environmental design, providing a comprehensive overview and compilation of important study results in the area.

Cozens and Love (2015) reviews the historical background of CPTED and the current status of the concept. The duo examines the use the design in early human settlements such as iron-age castles and forts. Early designs included landscaping, moats, use of walls, use of draw-bridges, and other structures which used to control access. In 1285, Edward I of England enacted a statute requiring landowners along highways to clear vegetation which was being used by criminals to hide and attack traders. In reviewing the current status of CPTED, the duo investigates the effectiveness of the concept as a crime prevention strategy in communities by conducting a meta-analysis of different studies. The study finds that CPTED is largely effective in deterring crimes in various communities. However, the study notes that there is need for CPTED to continually adapt to the changing environment in light of increasing urbanization, emergence of new technologies, and changing population dynamics.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2015), crime prevention through environmental design is an effective method of reducing incidences of school violence. Statistics indicate that 40% of schools in the U.S. reported incidences of violence in 2010. About 5.4% of students carry some form of weapon to school. The report establishes a number of CPTED principles that these schools can implement to reduce incidences of violence. The first principle is the use of natural surveillance which is basically placement of physical features in a way that enhances visibility. The second recommendation is the use of access management which entails use of signs to guide people. Lastly, the report recommends the use of territoriality whereby schools express ownership of space. The report however fails to provide statistical analysis on the effectiveness of these methods. There is need for further research on the area to establish whether the principles are effective in reducing violence.

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Casteel and Peak-Asa (2000) conducted an empirical investigation to establish the effectiveness of CPTED in reducing incidences of robberies in the U.S. The study had two types of inclusion criteria. In the first type, sixteen primary studies analyzed a CPTED program, while in the second type, twelve secondary studies analyzed a different CPTED program. The studies were concerned with the outcomes of the programs which were measured in terms of percentages. The primary studies established a reduction in robberies by between 84% and 30%. Secondary studies indicated a crime reduction of 92%. The study concludes that CPTED is an effective approach in reducing incidences of robbery. However, the study does not indicate which components were most effective in reducing robberies. Multiple components were evaluated during the study. Some of them were lighting, visibility, escape routes, use of equipment such as alarms and cameras, training people, and others.

The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) is a private organization dedicated towards enhancing the safety of U.S. neighborhoods. NCPC employs customized CPTED training in communities in order to reduce crime rates. In CPTED training, community members first identify local crime issues that they would wish to resolve. NCPC assesses the issues and develops strategies that can be used in solving the identified issues. It also provides technical assistance to community members in an effort to strengthen their efforts. In the last decade, NCPC has served over ten communities which were identified as crime hotspots. In each of these areas, NCPC applied CPTED principles which entail maintenance, natural surveillance, natural access control, and territorial reinforcements with positive results. Even though the communities were unique, they all had similarities. For instance, most of them had issues with traffic flow management, vacant lots, foliage overgrowth, absentee landlords, and inadequate lighting (“NCPC,” 2009).

Trujillo et al. (2016) analyzes the incidences of crime in nighttime leisure zones such as areas around bars. Most studies focus on crime in large areas and over a long period of time. This study focuses on interactions that occur in specific environments such areas of public entertainment. The study was conducted over a period of 4 months, with over 150 hours of observation in select areas. Field notes obtained were transcribed and the results used to develop conceptual maps that enabled the researchers to understand crime patterns. The study indicates that although the physical environments may be similar, place-based dynamics play a greater role in determining incidences of crime. The study indicates that most incidences of crime such as fights occurs in route ways around bars.

Majority of authors [Cozens & love, 2015; CDC, 2015; Casteel & Peak-Asa, 2000; NCPC, 2009] view crime prevention through environmental design as an effective method in reducing incidences of crime in the society. However, majority of these studies lack empirical evidence to back up their results. Studies utilizing empirical evidence find a strong relationship between CPTED programs and crime reduction [Trujillo, 2016; Casteel & Peak-Asa, 2000; NCPC, 2009]. There is need for more empirical research in this area.


Cozens, P. & Love, T. (2015). A Review of the Current Status of Crime Prevention through             Environmental Design (CPTED). Journal of Planning Literature, 3(1):1-20.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2015). Youth Violence: Using            Environmental Design to Prevent School Violence. Retrieved from:             http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/youthviolence/cpted.html

Casteel, C. & Peek-Asa, C. (2000). Effectiveness of Crime Prevention Through Environmental    Design (CPTED) in Reducing robberies. American Journal of Preventive Medicine,          18(4): 1-18.

National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC). (2009). Best Practices for using Crime Prevention   through Environmental Design in Weed and Seed Sites. Retrieved from:             http://www.ncpc.org/resources/files/pdf/training/Best%20Practices%20in%20CPTED%2  0-2.pdf

Trujillo, M. P., Reyes, M. F., Cabrera, L., & Gomez, A. P. (2016). Changing the Beat: Fostering the Prevention of Alcohol-Related Violence in Nighttime Leisure Zones. International           Criminal Justice Review, 3(1):1-23.

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