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Houston Police Department

Public Affairs

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Department

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design

Introduction
We live with crime every day. Unfortunately, it has become
a fact of life. Discussions on the subject have traditionally
focused much more on arrest and punishment than on
crime prevention; measures that cannot be taken until
after a crime has been committed. Preventing crime offers
tremendous savings to everyone.

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Crime
An act or commission of an act that is
forbidden or the omission of a duty that is
commanded by a public law and that makes
the offender liable to punishment by that law.

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Police Department

Types of Crime
Reported crimes.

Unreported crimes.
Unacknowledged - shrinkage

Undetected

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Houston Police
Department

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Fear of Crime
Public perception is
that crimes of all kinds
is rising and that public
safety faces a greater
and greater threat.
Globe and Mail

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Crime Prevention
Crime Prevention is the
anticipation, recognition
and appraisal of a crime
risk and the initiation of
some action to remove or
reduce the risk

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What is CPTED?
Pronounced sep-ted
Crime
Prevention
Through
Environmental
Design

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CPTED Defined
CPTED (pronounced sep-ted) is based on the
premise that 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
the quality of life.

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Department

CPTED

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Police Department

CPTED Houston, Texas


Idealistically practitioners
prefer that CPTED is
implemented at the design
and planning stage.
That rarely occurs in Houston,
TX the fourth largest city in
the country.

There are no local laws that


mandate the implementation
of CPTED.

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Department

Design Phase/ Blueprints

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Police Department

CPTED & HPD


The Houston Police Department

began utilizing CPTED as a crime


prevention tool in the early 80s.
CPTED Assessments are provided

by request to the residents of the


city of Houston free of charge.

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CPTED Assessment
What is an Assessment?
A free service provided to citizens, neighborhoods,
businesses, multi-family properties, residents, etc. by
trained personnel from the Houston Police Department.
The purpose of this assessment is to reduce the
formability of crime, by making a good faith effort to
provide a safe environment. (Also referred to as
inspection and or survey)

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How does a citizen receive this service?


Contact local storefront in your area.

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What does the survey entail?


Personnel meet the requestor and a day and night
inspection of the property is rendered. The inspection
focuses on crime prevention related deficiencies on and
around the property. Recommendations to help deter
potential and or future criminal activity are discussed on
the day of the inspection and an official summary of the
inspection is forwarded to the citizen within a specified
time period.

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What is the intent


of the survey?
The suggestions and recommendations are made for the
purpose of reducing the likelihood of criminal activity.
While no guarantee can be stated or implied, the
concepts of CPTED have proven themselves
internationally. The Houston Police Department offers
this assessment as a public service, with the
understanding that there is no way to predict or prevent
all crime risks.

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Where can CPTED Assessments be


performed?
Condominiums and Public Housing
Multi-family Properties (Blue Star)

Central Business District/ Regional Centers/ Town


Centers
Offices/ Retails/ Hotels
Educational Institutions and Schools
Industrial Areas

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Parking Lots
Parks/ Open Spaces/ Playgrounds
Back Lanes

Public Washrooms
Sidewalks/ Walkways
Underpasses/ Pedestrian Overhead Bridges
Bus Shelters/ Taxi Stands/ MRT/ LRT Stations

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CPTED Presentations
HPD personnel are not only available to perform
CPTED assessments but they also are available to
provide PowerPoint presentations.
Civic Club
PIP Meetings
Schools
Corporations

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CPTED Trained
The Houston Police Department provides annual
CPTED training to police officers twice a year and/or
on an as-needed basis, therefore officers are available
to provide assessments and presentations in all patrol
areas throughout the city.

Contact your area storefront or go onto the HPD


website for request.
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5 Principles of CPTED
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Natural Surveillance
Natural Access Control
Territorial Reinforcement
Maintenance
Activity Support

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Crime Prevention PSA

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Department

SATS

Key CPTED Concepts


Natural Surveillance
Natural Access Control

Territorial Reinforcement

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Natural Surveillance
Natural surveillance refers to areas where
people and their activities can be readily
observed. Such areas can be created by:
Designing landscapes that allow clear,
unobstructed views of surrounding areas.

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Department

Natural Surveillance
Improving visibility with lighting
or transparent building materials.
Avoid the creation of building
entrapment areas.

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Department

Natural Surveillance
Things that are examined
during the assessment.
Surveillance ask the question
will I be seen?

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Residential

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Commercial Storefronts
Keep customers and employees in view of each
other
Check-out counters should be located in front of

the store and clearly visible from the outside


Make private areas harder for non-employees to
access
Prevent easy access to the roof/fire escape
If rear parking is offered, provide rear access to the
store

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Department

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Natural Access Control


Natural access control means controlling
access to a site. It can be achieved by:
Ensuring that entrances are visible, well lit
and overlooked by windows.
Clearly define entranceways and control
other points of access to a site.
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Department

Access ask the question, how can I get in and out?

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Clearly define entranceways and control other points of


access to a site.

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Territorial Reinforcement
Refers to peoples sense of ownership.
In CPTED; it refers to the development of areas
or places where the users feel a strong sense
of ownership. It is an umbrella concept,
embodying all natural surveillance and access
control principles.

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The question is asked, does anyone care about what


happens?
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Schools

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School Drop-Off and Pick-Up

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CPTED Strategies
Lighting
Landscaping
Fencing

Lighting
Fencing

Target
Hardening
Public Art

Public Art

Target Hardening

Landscaping

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Lighting
90 % of crime occurs after dark

Proper lighting enables law abiding


citizens to observe / report crime and
to identify suspects.
It makes people feel safe.

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Lighting Maintenance
Lighting requires maintenance to preserve visibility. Bushes
and trees that block off lighting should be trimmed. Lighting
fixtures should be located at suitable heights for easy
maintenance and replacement. Light fixtures should be
maintained in a clean condition and promptly replaced if
burnt or broken.

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Protection of Lighting

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Lighting needs are determined after


the night survey

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Landscaping
Landscaping can become overgrown
Overgrown or improperly placed landscaping can create

ambush points
Improperly placed landscaping may disrupt access control
Poor landscaping can reduce visibility

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Landscaping
Trees should be trimmed between 8 10 feet from the

ground
Shrubs should be no more that 3 feet in height or below
window seal
Barrier plants (thorns and needles) can be used to deter
criminal trespass

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LANDSCAPING
A maintenance plan
is essential in
landscaping!

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Fencing

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Target Hardening

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Public Art
Determine whether Public
Art is advantageous to the
neighborhood

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Additional Crime Prevention


Multi-family Properties & CPTED

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Blue Star Program


15 Minimum
BLUE STAR
CPTED Requirements

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Blue Star Program


The Blue Star Program is a partnership between the
Houston Police Department, the owners and managers
of rental property, and property residents to keep
drugs and other illegal activity out of the community.

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Blue Star Designation


There are three phases that must be completed before a Blue Star
designation is awarded:
Phase One: The property manager and staff attend an eight hour
seminar presented by HPD.
Phase Two: The property must meet the minimum CPTED
requirements required by Blue Star.
Phase Three: The Houston Police Department conducts a resident
safety event onsite.

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Maintenance
Allows for the continued use of a space for its
intended purpose. Serves as an additional
expression of ownership. Prevents reduction of
visibility from landscaping overgrowth and
obstructed or inoperative lighting.

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Maintenance usually deters offenders


Neglected and poorly maintained properties are

the breeding grounds for criminal activity


Broken Window Theory

Suggest that one broken window or nuisance if


allowed to exist will lead to others and ultimately
to the decline of entire neighborhoods.

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Remove graffiti immediately upon discovering.

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Repair fencing.

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Activity Support
Placing activities where individuals
become part of the natural surveillance.

Move playgrounds where parents can observe them.

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Communication is the
Key

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CONCLUSION
CPTED is not the total answer to community problems, but it
does provide community with the means to eliminate or reduce
environmental obstacles to social, cultural or managerial control.

Timothy D. Crowe
Criminologist & CPTED Practitioner

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Through the use of CPTED principles, the physical


environment can be modified or designed to eliminate
or reduce the opportunities for crime to be committed.

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If all else fails

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Questions

Contact Information
Princina Brown-Thomas
Planner Leader
Citywide CPTED Coordinator
713.308.3247
Email: princina.brown-thomas@houstonpolice.org
Website:
www.houstonpolice.org