What Is CPTED? Reconnecting Theory with Application in the Words of Users and Abusers

Rachel Armitage, Leanne Monchuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) represents a multifaceted approach to crime reduction that draws upon theories from environmental criminology, architecture and urban design and requires the commitment of agencies as diverse as police, planners, and housing developers. Its importance as a crime reduction approach has been formalized through strategy, policy, and regulation and its effectiveness has been confirmed in evaluations (see Brown, unpublished data, Pascoe, 1999, Armitage, 2000, Teedon et al., 2009; 2010, Armitage and Monchuk, 2011). Yet there remains a lack of clarity regarding CPTED’s definition, scope, and crucially, the fundamental components that form its definition. Conscious of the need for clarity and consistency, this article presents the findings from in-depth interviews with a sample of 10 incarcerated, adult, male burglars and 10 Designing Out Crime Officers in England and Wales. The method was exploratory and inductive, with participants being encouraged to express their perceptions of housing design features and the association of these features with burglary risk. The findings reveal key similarities between the users and abusers of CPTED and confirm (and elevate) the significance of features such as surveillance. However, other features of design traditionally considered as critical to burglary risk are afforded less importance—raising questions regarding terminology, weighting and redefinition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-330
Number of pages19
JournalPolicing (Oxford)
Issue number3
Early online date13 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019


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