The arrangement and design of buildings and open spaces can encourage or discourage undesirable behavior and criminal activity. CPTED works by decreasing opportunities for crime and increasing the chances that a legitimate user will see and report crime as it occurs.

The proper design and effective use of the built environment can lead to a reduction in the fear and incidence of crime and an improvement in quality of life. Municipalities throughout the world are adopting CPTED ordinances requiring site plan reviews with crime prevention and safety in mind.

CPTED is based on a few overlapping concepts:

“See and be seen” is the overall goal. A person is less likely to commit a crime if they think someone will see them do it. Natural Surveillance increases the threat of apprehension by taking steps to increase the perception that people can be seen. Lighting and landscape play an important role.

Strategically designing streets, sidewalks, building entrances and landscaping to physically obstruct or guide access by people and vehicles. This strategy works by deterring access to potential targets of crime. If criminal behavior does occur, the access control makes it easy for legitimate users to notice and report the crime to police.

Creating or extending a “sphere of influence” by utilizing physical designs such as pavement treatments, landscaping and signage that enable users of an area to develop a sense of proprietorship over it is the goal of this CPTED principle. Public areas are clearly distinguished from private ones. Potential trespassers perceive this control and are thereby discouraged.

CPTED supports the “Broken Window Theory” that one “broken window” or nuisance, if ignored, will lead to others and ultimately to the decline of an entire neighborhood. Neglected and poorly maintained properties are breeding grounds for criminal activity.

Specially trained law enforcement officers, city or county planners, architects and developers are working together to ensure the proper design of structures, schools and neighborhoods.

PalmettoPride brings CPTED to your South Carolina community without cost. You provide the location and audio-visual equipment. We provide training and continuing support as you implement these crime fighting techniques in your community.

PalmettoPride offers training in Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design free to residents of South Carolina. Municipalities and community groups are asked to provide an appropriate location with audio/visual capabilities for 20-50 students. PalmettoPride will provide access to digital copies of all training material and additional support programs to assist in the implementation of CPTED.

Contact Esther Wagner at or call 803-758-6034 for further details and to schedule courses.