Calgary Police Service

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)

Crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) is used worldwide. It enhances safety by influencing the physical design of our environment and encouraging positive social interaction. CPTED recognizes that our environment directly affects our behaviour, because we constantly respond to what is around us. These responses help us interact safely in our communities.

How does crime prevention through environmental design work?

An environment designed using CPTED principles reduces opportunities for criminal acts to take place and helps us feel safer. By doing so, it improves our quality of life. CPTED uses strategies that work together to create safer communities. It complements crime prevention strategies such as locks and bars, police and security personnel.

Examples include:

  • A well-maintained home, building or community park creates a sense of guardianship and that helps deter criminals.
  • Community activity is important. Criminal acts can be discouraged in public spaces when we encourage activities in those spaces by residents, visitors and other legitimate users.
  • Natural access control guides help people enter and have a space through the placement of entrances, exits, fences, landscaping and lighting. It can decrease opportunities for criminal activity by denying criminals access to potential targets and creating a perception of risk for would-be offenders.

Implementing CPTED

In existing communities, this is best done by a CPTED practitioner who has practiced crime prevention and completed several CPTED projects. With assistance of community leaders, crime prevention advocates and input from community members to investigate the root causes of crime, combined with CPTED, will greatly help with proper implementation.

In new communities, CPTED is best executed at the development stage and continued through the design and implementation stages.

For more information on CPTED, contact the crime prevention team at


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