In the field of CPTED, theorists and practitioners alike readily acknowledge the need to design buildings and layouts that closely fit the local context and wider design requirements, including aesthetics, social conditions, and development and construction constraints. Crime prevention functions cannot simply be imposed or bolted on while ignoring local circumstances and other priorities such as energy conservation. But gett ing crime prevention designs to work successfully can be tricky because they rarely act directly (as with putt ing high walls around a building), but exert their preventive effect by motivating and directing the actions of people such as residents, managers and passers-by, and deterring offenders. Crime prevention designs for the built environment can thus rarely be massproduced but must be customized to local conditions. CPTED evolved in Western countries, with commonalities of culture and built environment, despite variations, for example, in climate between Northern Europe and Australia. Transferring CPTED to other regions such as the United Arab Emirates therefore poses even more of a challenge, where there are marked differences not just in terms of climate but also in culture pertaining, for example to privacy, ownership of property, development control and tradition. Recent experience in researching international good practice and standards for application in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, is used to illustrate these contextual differences, to draw broader lessons for CPTED, and to discuss the challenges to cross-cultural knowledge transfer in crime prevention.