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Translating CPTED into Crime Preventive Action: A Critical Examination of CPTED as a Tool for Active Guardianship

Abstract

This paper will argue that the effectiveness of CPTED ought to be judged in terms of the extent to which it is successful in facilitating opportunities for active guardianship of places. With this premise in mind, the CPTED component of surveillance will provide the focal point of investigation. Reynald (Crime Prevention and Community Safety: An International Journal, 11(1):1-20, 2009, Journal of Research in Crime & Delinquency, 2010b) demonstrated that supervision or natural surveillance is one of the core dimensions of active guardianship in residential areas. This paper will begin with an illustration of how the CPTED principles are translated into crime preventive action in residential environments by using observational data to get a first-hand look at how CPTED functions in practice. The paper will then go on to combine these field observations with interview data from residents themselves to show the ways in which opportunities for the CPTED component of surveillance are affected, not simply by the design of the physical environment, but also by the context in which the opportunities exist. These results will be used to critically reflect on some inherent conflicts and points of neglect in the relationship between the components of surveillance, territoriality and image/maintenance, as a means of airing some of the conceptual and practical weaknesses that may serve to limit the existing CPTED model.

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Notes

  1. The other CPTED-related variables that were measured included territoriality, image/maintenance and target hardening.

  2. The territoriality scale measure was composed of physical barriers, landscaping, front garden and outdoor seating on properties in the 2009 study, and also showed a significant negative correlation with active guardianship. In Reynald (2010b), the territoriality measure was revised by dissecting the physical barriers variable and including more measures of signs of ownership, including decorations, property signs and nameplates. The relationship with surveillance opportunities remained the same (significant negative correlation), but there was a significant positive relationship with active guardianship in this study.

  3. The image/maintenance scale measure was composed of graffiti, litter, state of disrepair of properties and broken lights/windows.

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Correspondence to Danielle M. Reynald.

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Reynald, D.M. Translating CPTED into Crime Preventive Action: A Critical Examination of CPTED as a Tool for Active Guardianship. Eur J Crim Policy Res 17, 69–81 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10610-010-9135-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10610-010-9135-6

Keywords

  • CPTED
  • Guardianship
  • Crime prevention
  • Natural surveillance
  • Territoriality