Crime Prevention through Environmental Design and Retail Crime: Exploring Offender Perspectives

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


There is little doubt that the design of the built environment influences offender decision-making textendash be that at the meso (individual street, housing development, shopping mall) or micro (individual property or shop) level (see Armitage, 2013 for a full review). Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) is a crime reduction approach that aims to prevent or reduce crime though the design (pre-build) or manipulation (post-build) of the built environment. CPTED is based upon a set of principles that include limiting through movement, maximising natural surveillance, maximising defensible space, ensuring that physical security is commensurate with risk and maintaining the image of an area (usually referred to as management and maintenance). Whilst these principles remain largely consistent (Poyner, 1983; Cozens et al, 2005; Armitage, 2013) there is some debate as to the extent to which there exists a disconnect between the principles textendash developed largely by architects and academics over three decades ago, and the extent to which these principles are applied by practitioners, or more importantly, recognised by offenders. A recent research project (Armitage and Joyce, in press) conducted in-depth interviews with twenty incarcerated prolific burglars in West Yorkshire, England. The research was inductive in nature, with participants asked to describe, in their own words, their thoughts regarding the design features of 16 photographs of residential properties (And how these design features attracted or deterred them). The research revealed that whilst some principles (including surveillance and through movement) appear to play a vital role in offender decision-making, other principles (for example, defensible space and management and maintenance) were not factors considered by offenders. Whilst this research has key implications for the review of CPTED policy and guidance, it is limited to residential housing. This paper presents the findings of a study to replicate this methodology with a small sample of incarcerated shoplifters. The focus of the research being the influence of the design and layout of shopping malls/outlets and individual shops upon the decision making of offenders.
Period15 Sep 2016
Event titleRetail Crime: International Evidence & Prevention
Event typeConference
LocationStockholm, SwedenShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational