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What is CPTED? Understanding the Importance of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design

We sat down with one of our Town Planners, Ben Miller, to explore the process and benefits associated with effective CPTED integration.

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design or CPTED is a multidisciplinary approach used to design out crime in the natural and built environment. CPTED has become popular in a range of development scenarios where the relationship between environment and behaviour can be used to mitigate the occurrence of opportunity based crime.

When is CPTED typically required in development?

Development Control Plans often require CPTED reviews in support of applications for mixed use, commercial and larger scale residential developments. This will typically incorporate a review of Architectural and Landscape Plans to guide detailed design requirements and operational measures to be implemented by building occupants.

Barker Ryan Stewart works with developers and respective design teams to ensure CPTED recommendations can be implemented without impact to function and use of the development.

How will the development be reviewed?

The design is reviewed according to four main CPTED principles:

Access Control

Well-designed access points limit unauthorised entry and channel residents and visitors through the site in a controlled manner. Access points need to be visible and easily identifiable to ensure that offenders will be noticed when entering restricted areas.


Our CPTED surveillance reviews are typically guided by two crucial assumptions:

  • Offenders will more readily target areas where they cannot be seen; and
  • Design incorporating good natural surveillance will, unknowingly, promote public participation to address this.

Architects are provided the opportunity to maximise visibility and surveillance of building entry points, passive recreational areas and pedestrian thoroughfares through CPTED design integration. Effective natural surveillance can limit the need for expensive security patrolling of larger sites via design and angle of windows, building orientation, landscaping and channelling of site users into areas that will promote passive observation of surroundings.

Where passive surveillance opportunities are limited, Barker Ryan Stewart can provide locational CCTV recommendations to assist with obtaining development consent.

Territorial Reinforcement

Distinction between public and semi-private spaces is important in the acknowledgement of property boundaries. Often, building and landscape design can interact negatively to blur the boundary between public and private spaces. To achieve a sense of territoriality and encourage responsibility of residents and users of the area to assist in the security of spaces, building and landscape entry design should reinforce who the space is to be used by. This is often achieved through select pavement and entry treatments that reinforce spatial boundaries.

Site Management

Clean, well maintained sites incorporating consistent maintenance routines are typically less desirable for opportunistic criminals when compared with areas of urban decay. Site management is also important to encourage perceived sense of safety and foot traffic surveillance of our urban spaces.

Barker Ryan Stewart’s CPTED review includes a range of important site management recommendations that assist in the operational response to crime risk within your development.

How can Barker Ryan Stewart assist?

Barker Ryan Stewart has extensive experience in the CPTED assessment of commercial, residential, mixed use, landscape and government developments in accordance with the NSW Safer by Design evaluation process. To ensure the review process doesn’t impact approval timelines, it is recommended that CPTED consultants are engaged early in the design process to work collaboratively with the project team to achieve the right outcome.

Barker Ryan Stewart has provided recent CPTED services for School Infrastructure NSW redevelopment projects, a state significant mixed use precinct incorporating 987 apartments with integrated 9000m2 commercial/ retail premises and a large scale commercial and industrial business park.

For any assistance with the CPTED review of your next project, please contact Ben on 02 4324 5255.

If you have any further questions or concerns about how we can assist you please don’t hesitate to contact your local Barker Ryan Stewart office.

Pictured below: The Banks, Rockdale a residential development comprising of 398 apartments for which Barker Ryan Stewart provided CPTED services for.

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