CPTED Is All Around Us

I found the topic about Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design fascinating, just fascinating.

CPTED is the art of combining people, architecture, and technology to prevent crimes against a building, facility, or site.

It’s a technique used to ensure the safety of the people, business, and neighborhood in way that involves the people, business, and neighborhood without their direct knowledge.

You might think it’s for government buildings, or top secret research facilities, but you’d be surprised at all the buildings that practice CPTED right in your own neighborhood.

CPTED Where We Live


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Photo Source
Click the graphic above to see a larger image.

The White House is a really good example of CPTED.

The President of the United States, the leader of the Free World, cannot be seen living in a place that is completely shut out from the people, he can’t be seen living in fear of constant attack.

The President’s residence cannot have large military-clad elite soldiers patrolling the perimeter, nor can it have a visible armament.  They might be there, but we most likely will not see them all that much.

The White House is an international landmark that millions of tourists flock to in Washington DC each year.

CPTED Where We Work

Let’s take another example that is more related to an information security professional.  A building that actually doesn’t want or have to be seen by the people.


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Aerial View of Expedient Data Center
Check out Expedient’s Baltimore data center above.  See how it is located on the harbor surrounded by water?  The location of this data center has already eliminated 50% of space to have to worry about security, the water is the deterrent.


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Back of the Building Faces the Public
See how the front of the building isn’t located facing the street? They probably keep the front of the building facing the water to eliminate anyone watching the entrance.

The building itself isn’t very flashy either, very nondescript, uninteresting. Because of the nature and value of the information contained within those data centers, you want the least amount of attention from the public as possible.

A building with high security could actually attract more attention.


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Area Behind Data Center
The back of the building does not face a sprawling city, or a populated corporate campus.  Just faces what looks like a few restaurants and housing complexes.  It is away from the main streets and more importantly, people.

Other Examples of CPTED

  • Bollards – They navigate foot traffic through designated areas and provide illumination.  Also, they can stop an approaching car filled with explosives.

  • Receptionist – Ever notice businesses have a receptionist or a clerk to greet you as you enter the building or store?  This is to make sure you know someone has checked you in or keeping a track of you.

  • Picnic Areas/Recreation – A family at a picnic area provides a lot of eyes to look out for anyone not trying to be noticed.  Occupants of a basketball court or a soccer field do the same job.

  • Trees – They can either obscure the view to a building naturally