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What is CPTED?

CPTED is an acronym for Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design.


It is a crime prevention philosophy based on proper design and effective use of the built environment leading to a reduction in the incidence and fear of crime, as well as an improvement in quality of life (Ministry of Justice, 2005).


Crime prevention through environmental design is based on the simple idea that crimes results partly from the opportunities presented by the physical environment. This being the case, it is possible to alter the physical environment so that crime is less likely to occur.

While the strongest tool in preventing disorder is alert and firm management, good design of licensed premises can make a significant contribution to reducing the likelihood of disorder or criminal activities.


We know the hospitality industry is vibrant, dynamic, and continually changing to meet the aspirations of contemporary consumers. Nowhere is this truer than in bars where feeling relaxed and safe is vital to customers and staff. Security therefore is a vital element in any professionally run outlet. A balance needs to be struck between making the environment welcoming and safe.


It is also important for bottle stores and off-licensed premises. These premises are often staffed by one or two people which means they need the best opportunity to have oversight of the premises and the street. Simple changes can be made to make these premises safer.


CPTED provides three approaches to managing the physical environment in ways that will reduce the opportunity for crime:


1. Natural – the integration of security and behavioural concepts into how human ad physical resources are designed are designed and used. This may include large open windows, garden borders for definition and the like.

2. Organised – the introduction of labour-intensive security. This may be security patrols and door staff

3. Mechanical – the introduction of capital or hardware-intensive security. This may include installing CCTV, better lighting or locks.

Flowing on from these approaches, there are four key overlapping CPTED principles:


1. Surveillance – people are present and can see what’s going on

2. Access management – methods are used to attract people and vehicles to some places and restrict them from others

3. Territorial reinforcement – clear boundaries encourage community or patron ownership of a space.

4. Quality environments – good quality, well maintained place attract the right people and support surveillance

While it would be optimal to think about CPTED before you open/build your premises, it is never too late to complete a CPTED audit with a view to reducing crime and disorder at your business. The reporting agencies will require you to think about the CPTED principles when making applications for new, renewal or variation of conditions at your premises.

Here at ACG we offer CPTED audits of your premises and the locality. Contact us on 0800ALCOHOL if we can help you. We can give you a no obligation quote today.

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