Utilizing CPTED to Protect Against Property Crime

October 3, 2022

All businesses can benefit from Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). Deter crime on your property by using landscaping and building design to create a safer space.

Utilizing CPTED to Protect Against Property Crime

During times of economic hardship, property crime tends to occur more frequently. Companies are more likely to see jobsite and raw material thefts or be targeted through catalytic converter and AC thefts. Items with higher resale values, such as tools, technology and metals, are at greater risk.

All businesses can benefit from a concept called Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED).

CPTED, pronounced “sep-ted,” helps deter crime on your property by using landscaping and building design to create a safer space.

CPTED uses five methods to discourage crime:

  1. Natural surveillance
  2. Access control
  3. Territorial reinforcement
  4. Maintenance
  5. Activity support

Natural surveillance

Natural surveillance increases the visibility of your property, making it easier for people to see what’s happening on the property. Because it is easier to be seen and potentially be caught, criminal behavior is deterred.

You can boost natural surveillance by keeping windows open, installing a transparent fence, utilizing passing street traffic, and having appropriate lighting that reduces shadows and glare.

Access control

Access control restricts entrances and exits. It also helps defines public and private areas. Using a single-entry point, controlled access areas, low thorny shrubs near ground windows, and eliminating access to ground and roof areas are helpful. You will want to add access control in conjunction with target hardening, the process of making a building more difficult/less attractive for criminals to target.

Territorial reinforcements

Territorial reinforcements give the impression that your property is being actively monitored and is private property. Signage identifying security cameras, motion sensor lighting, and fencing signals the property is used and monitored.


Don’t discount the importance of basic maintenance. It gives the impression that the property is cared for and has a strong sense of ownership. If the property is run down and seems unused, the property can be perceived as unwanted and be an easier target. For example, allowing vandalism and graffiti to stay conveys that the property has little value.

Activity support

Activity support creates the idea that others in the area have a sense of ownership in the community. Signs such as children playing, neighborhood watch, etc. encourage the participation of those in the area to care about what is occurring in their neighborhood.

Getting help with CPTED

Implementing several of the elements above can reduce an organization’s exposure to theft and property loss. If you are interested in fully implementing CPTED, local law enforcement may have crime prevention units that can assist in further assistance.

CPTED is also a service available through The Miller Group’s safety department. Take action by contacting your account team and asking about CPTED services.

About The Author

Aaron Paris, CSP, ASP

Aaron Paris, CSP, ASP
Email As the Director of Safety, Property & Casualty, Aaron has more than six years of experience in workplace safety and 12 years in law enforcement. Aaron consults with clients on a wide variety of safety issues such as worker safety, auto, property risk and other safety procedures. He is also authorized to teach OSHA 10- and 30- hour courses.