Is Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) still fit for purpose?
Chair: Martin Gill
Dr. Tim Pascoe – Director at the Institute of Community Safety (UK)
Dr. Manjari Khanna Kapoor – Director at International CPTED Association (India)
Dr. Macarena Rau Vargas – President at International CPTED Association (Canada and Latin America)
Dr Tim Pascoe starts by pointing to the many independent studies of CPTED that have shown it to be very effective at tackling crime and disorder. In practice CPTED is presented in many different guises under different names and as Tim emphasises it has worldwide appeal and recognition. He charts its history and its evolution through three generations the latest of which is incorporating the green agenda. Its appeal is based on a scientific approach with an ability to change behaviour by bringing relevant groups together to better manage the use of space. That said there is more to be done in determining which bits of CPTED contribute most to success; in generating support for the concept in key areas (such as retail and security); and in publicising the value of the international standard that has been established and offers a key reference point.
Dr Manjari Kapoor notes that although CPTED has a long history – and the concept is timeless – it has only relatively recently found expression in India.
It has long been recognised that architects influence behaviour of all sorts so influencing how criminals behave is a natural extension. One of its key characteristics is that it transcends disciplines. It has not had corporate sponsors to popularise it although the third generation has been an important contributor to the green agenda. You will watch Manjari give many examples in her contributions such as the way in which neighbourhood watch has regularised information exchange. Despite its many attractive features Manjari notes CPTED attracts many myths: that it has not always been effective at engaging important audiences and that includes architects; and the ISO standards is an excellent start but being the first attempt it is generic albeit a good base on which to build.
Dr Macarena Rau welcomes the CPTED methodology and evidence base and outlines her own research on the success factors identified through an impact evaluation model which you will hear her discuss. It is important, she argues, because offenders are efficient and need to be challenged. For Macerena the ISO standard was most welcome, it was a milestone, and setting a base on which others can build. She envisages it being translated. The key is to engage different groups meaningfully, that is the key route to spreading the word and generating wider understanding and adoption of the principles. However, that remains a challenge as in South America there is a lack of political will to promote CPTED which needs to be overcome.
The panel provided strong support for the CPTED principles, not least the wealth of scientific evidence that underpins it. But we learnt too that there are some key issues that stand in the way of wider adoption not least understanding better which parts of CPTED work best in what contexts; and crucially in publicising it through effective engagement with different and more communities. We will watch this area with interest.
Some useful reference points include: Mihinjac, M.; Saville, G. Third-Generation Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). Soc. Sci. 2019, 8, 182. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8060182; Macarena Rau V, Ivan Cartes, Francisco Gatica & Tim Pascoe (2019) Impact Evaluation of Situational Prevention Strategies and CPTED (Crime Prevention through Environmental Design) in Vulnerable Neighborhoods in Latin America. Pages 437-454. Published online: 21 May.
28th April, 2022
Professor Martin Gill