Skip to main content

Crime Prevention Through Environment Design (CPTED)

By Rose Leighton, Planner, Baseline Group | Aug 15, 2023

The concept of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) has an increased influence on development located within the Medium Design Residential Zone in Selwyn, due to the recently introduced Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2021. If your property falls within this zone and you require a Resource Consent for development, these principles will likely influence your design choices.

Council can require applicants to consider the principles of CPTED, when a development does not comply with rules relating to the number of units, road boundary setback, windows to street, landscape area or outdoor storage. The core purpose of the CPTED principles is to achieve a safe and secure environment, through considering and applying the four main principles - natural surveillance, access control, territorial reinforcement, and quality environments.

Natural surveillance applies along elevations that face the street or shared areas. Strategically positioning windows and doors facing streets and shared areas fosters a sense of 'overlooking' public spaces (roads, footpaths, reserves) and the perception that people are present. This acts as a deterrent against crime, as potential wrongdoers feel they might be observed. However, while providing for this is a positive outcome, it is important this is balanced with privacy, to ensure that one is not compromised for another.

Access control is intended to ensure private areas maintain privacy through a clear distinction of space. This will create a clear and logical orientation of places, to assist with wayfinding and safety, as loitering would be discouraged. An example of this is to make the main entrance obvious and distinct from other property access points.

Territorial reinforcement is aimed to encourage a sense of ownership, and as a result, a sense of responsibility for the publicly visible areas in the neighbourhood. This promotes caring for these spaces, through fostering attitudes of respect and community. A method for this includes modifying the environment to emphasise ownership, through measures such as landscaping, lighting, walkways and fencing.

Quality environments are intended to encourage development that is of good quality and well- maintained, to attract people and support surveillance of the area. This principal is closely linked to territorial reinforcement, as the measures which foster a sense of ownership, also create a quality environment.

So how do these principles come through in the design and location of proposed developments? If you wish to infringe on any of the rules mentioned above, then Council will likely be concerned about how the CPTED principles can still be provided for. For example, an infringement of the road boundary setback could result in smaller windows to preserve privacy and a reduced area for landscaping. Consequently, there is an omission of natural surveillance and a decreased quality environment. The purpose of the CPTED principles is to ensure these negative outcomes do not arise, and instead foster safe homes, promote community engagement, and ensure pleasant environments. Get in contact with a planning consultant today to understand whether these principles may affect you, and how they can be incorporated into developments.

Articles you might be interested in