How do you feel when you enter a darkened hallway?

How do you feel if you are lost, and you begin to walk or drive into an area that is run down, strewn with trash, and has graffiti in a number of places?

Your answers to these questions are usually based on your perception of the environment and your own personal safety. Life experiences often influence our impressions of different environments. Although individuals may perceive environments differently, most individuals agree with one another when their impression of an unfamiliar environment evokes a sense of danger or a state of alertness. Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) promotes a sense of safety and diminishes the incidence of crime in any given environment.

What is CPTED?

  • CPTED (pronounced SEP-ted) is an acronym for Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design.
  • CPTED is based on the theory that the proper design and effective use of the built environment can lead to a reduction in the incidence and fear of crime and in an improvement in the quality of life.
  • CPTED consists of four key concepts: Natural Surveillance, Natural Access Control, Territorial Reinforcement and Maintenance, all of which are interrelated. (Click on each concept for more information)

CPTED strategies checklist (PDF)

Virginia Crime Prevention Association CPTED Guidelines (PDF)

CPTED emphasizes:

How can CPTED affect you and your loved ones?

If you have ever been in a place where you did not feel safe or secure, you may have been experiencing a lack of CPTED key concepts in use. On the other hand, if you have visited an entirely new place and felt safe and secure in that environment, intentionally or not, CPTED key concepts were probably in place. After viewing this presentation, you will have a better understanding of why you feel safe or unsafe in various environments.

Listen to your inner voice. If you do not feel safe, your voice is probably right!

Click here to view: A Day in Your Life With CPTED (PDF File)
Press ESC to cancel slideshow at anytime.



Click here to see one of the ways that Henrico County utilizes CPTED principles.

CPTED is common sense!




about CPTED:

CPTED in Virginia
(4MB PDF file)


Ms. Kimberly Vann, CPTED Planner for Henrico County Police Division

Click here
to see Ms. Vann’s bio.




Download the Henrico Police CPTED Brochure
by clicking here.


Be sure to visit these other CPTED related sites!

International CPTED Association

Virginia Crime Prevention Association

Project Safe Neighborhood

American Institute of Architects (search CPTED for articles relating to CPTED) 

Designing Safer Communities:A Crime Prevention Through  Environmental Design Handbook  (available through Henrico County Public Libraries)

VA Center for School Safety

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