"Why my house?" Exploring the influence of residential housing design on burglar decision making

Rachel Armitage, Chris Joyce

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) has been defined (and redefined) by, amongst others, Crowe (2000), Ekblom (2011) and Armitage (2013). The principles upon which it is based also vary considerably with Poyner (1983) presenting five (surveillance, movement control, activity support and motivational reinforcement), Cozens et al. (2005) presenting seven (defensible space, access control, territoriality, surveillance, target hardening, image and activity support), and Armitage (2013) offering yet another combination of the five principles (physical security, surveillance, movement control, management and maintenance and defensible space). This divergence is not purely a matter of semantics textendash although this issue is important when transferring policy and practice internationally. The principles upon which CPTED are based have been used to inform planning policy and guidance and also to develop practical applications such as the UK's Secured by Design scheme. Conscious that these principles have primarily been developed by academics, police and policy-makers and that they have failed to evolve with developments in housing design, security measures, drug use and ultimately offender modus operandi, this chapter aims to help rectify the imbalance. A sample of twenty-two incarcerated prolific burglars were asked to discuss what they perceived to be the risk and protective factors of sixteen images of residential housing. Interviews were unstructured and participants were encouraged to describe the images in their own words. Whilst confirming the importance of a selection of CPTED principles, the findings cast doubt on the importance of others textendash with obvious practice and policy implications.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRe-building Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED)
Subtitle of host publicationStrengthening the links with crime science
EditorsRachel Armitage, Paul Ekblom
Place of PublicationOxford, UK
ISBN (Print)9781138919631
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


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