Safety and security continues to be one of the top priorities throughout the public domain. Schools, hospitals, offices, transportation hubs, and more all place security as a top priority.
Incorporating the CPTED principles can greatly reduce security risks such as theft. What is CPTED? It stands for Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. It’s a multi-disciplinary approach to reducing crime and increasing perceived safety. CPTED operates on the belief that proper design and effective use of the built environment can lead to a reduction in the fear and incidence of crime, and an improvement in the quality of life at school, at work, and other public facilities.
CPTED does not prevent crime. The goal of the initiative is to reduce opportunities for crime that may be inherent in the design of facilities, specifically schools and campuses.
The three basic principles of CPTED include:
1. Territoriality: People protect what they feel is their own and have a certain respect for what they feel belongs to others. Territoriality clearly delineates a space as public, semi-public, or private and creates appropriate ownership of space.
Here are some practical ways Territoriality can be implemented:
- Improve the environment and properly maintain areas. Neglected areas breed misconduct. You may have heard this referred to as “The Broken Window” theory.
- Define clear borders. This can be accomplished with the use of fences, landscaping, sidewalks, pavement, or the placement of furniture and equipment.
- Reinforce ownership and personalize the environment through the use of art, colors or signage.
2. Natural Surveillance: This works on the theory that criminals do not want to be seen. Natural surveillance is a design strategy that is directed at keeping intruders under observation and can be accomplished by the placement of physical features and/or activities, and people that maximizes natural visibility or observation.
How to implement Natural Surveillance:
- Increase visibility by improving line of sight, eliminating blind spots, adding windows, controlling the landscaping, and properly lighting areas.
- Increase observance. This can be accomplished through the use of parking attendants or security guards. A properly located receptionist/main office or resource officer’s post, as well as the layout of the rooms and furniture.
3. Access Control: This incorporates the goal of denying access to a crime target and creates a perception of risk to the offender.
Access control can be accomplished via the following:
- Limit/control entrances and exits. This can be accomplished through the use of key-cards, reconfiguring excess entry doors so they lock automatically when closed, replacing or reconfiguring windows so that they can’t be used as entry points for people or contraband. Fencing and landscaping can be used to help control access in outside areas.
- Locate vulnerable areas near a source of natural surveillance.
CPTED is a common sense, low-cost way to improve any environment, but specifically, the educational environment. Now, you may be asking yourself, what does this have to do with furniture? It has everything to do with many of NOVA Solutions’ furniture products.
Here is a list of some of NOVA’s products and how they can be incorporated into a CPTED strategy:
- The Downview™: Positioning the computer monitor beneath the work surface and incorporating it into the desk itself is certainly a deterrent to would be criminals and serves as a preventative measure for accidental damage to valuable computer equipment. Placement of the computer within the desk or workstation establishes “territoriality.” The computer equipment, just like the furniture appears as a permanent fixture at the facility. Also, clearing the line-of-sight between instructors and students provides “natural surveillance” views of computer labs and classrooms. Students cannot hide behind a monitor placed on top of the desk. Incorporating NOVA’s locking features and optional tamper resistant screws provides a measure of “access control.” Remember, thieves do not want to be seen and having to take extra steps to remove a monitor from a classroom or office slows them down, increasing their vulnerability.
- The Trolley™: This visual display option, offered by NOVA offers many of the same safeguards as The Downview™ product mentioned above. “Territoriality” is established by The Trolley’s incorporation into the workstation itself. “Natural surveillance” is achieved by clearing the line-of-sight between teachers and students at any moment. Incorporating NOVA’s Trolley E-Class monitor lifts and NOVALinked™ allows instructors complete “access control” and “natural surveillance” opportunities. The locking features, tamper-resistant monitor mount screws, and the fully-enclosed design of The Trolley™ creates a major obstacle for would be monitor thieves and vandals.
Additionally, NOVA’s quality furniture designs feature a variety of locking compartments that provide security without compromising accessibility.
If your school or office is ready to embrace a CPTED strategy to reduce crime and improve perceived safety and security, contact NOVA Solutions and ask about how our products can help achieve the three main goals of CPTED.
You may want to check out our Top Ten list which addresses some of our customers primary objectives, including security.
Sources: College Planning & Management/School Planning & Management Quick Facts, July 2011; National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities; St. Petersburg Police Department.