To help prevent crime in your neighbourhood, take a look at your surroundings. Do you feel safe? Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) ideas can be used to plan cities, suburbs, neighbourhoods, parks, places of business and homes with safety in mind.

CPTED includes:

Natural surveillance

This means placing physical features, activities and people to maximize natural visibility or observation.

  • Provide unobstructed views of local surroundings
  • Keep areas well lit
  • Ensure entrances to homes and buildings have a clear line of sight from the inside and outside
  • Eliminate barriers that create hiding spots (thick hedges, for example)

Natural access control

Good access control creates a sense of risk and deters offenders from easily accessing a target. Use curbing and landscaping to direct car and foot traffic into controlled and visible areas.

Territorial reinforcement

Define clear borders from public to semi-private to private areas. Use fencing, shrubs or different building materials to define the space for its intended purpose. Display Neighbourhood Watch signs. These steps show ownership over a territory.


If you maintain a space, it helps ensure that the space is used for its intended purpose – from streets to walkways, parks and public spaces. It also shows that your community cares.

Tactics include:

  • Reduce the number of entry and exit points on a block
  • Maximize residents’ ability to view public spaces
  • Encourage residents’ positive use of public spaces
  • Ensure there is appropriate lighting for streets, paths, alleys and parks
  • Encourage residents to watch over each other

Take time to evaluate your surroundings with your neighbours or local Neighbourhood Watch program. Create an action plan to make improvements.

If you have a specific idea or question about integrating CPTED into your community, contact your local Community Police Centre.

For more information