Assignment 4


During our design studies class we have came to looking into how design relates to crime from reading 'The Tipping Point' From this I have been looking at how design can help prevent crime. I researched into the shop environments and what is needed to prevent crime, such as alarm systems. Now, I have gone into looking at environmental design to prevent crime. Looking into this subject made me realise just how much the design of an environment can change the perception and social order in the area. Even such a small change of more lighting or another member of staff can make a huge difference to the crime rate in this environment. I went on to read an article and a book discussing this topic. I did two mindmaps whilst reading the texts to help me with my thinking process.

This is the results that I was faced with from two of sources I read and also references from other sources I have came across.

The first source I read was the article 'Crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) in reducing robberies.' written by Carri Casteel and Corinne Peek-Asa. The article was supported by the Southern California Prevention Centre. This source seeks to find out how successful Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design is in reducing robberies. From reading this article it is clear to me now, how many factors there are which help to reduce crime. It has been chosen to look at the CPTED model of C, Jeffery(3). This model shows that the risk of robbery can be reduced by controlling the business environment. It looks into four factors that can potentially change the risk of crime. They are; natural surveillance, access control, territoriality and activity support.
Natural surveillance looks into aspects such as internal and external lighting, the visibility into the store and placement of the cash register. Access control includes number of entrances, the door types and the design of the internal environment. Territoriality refers to the location of the store in the community, the traffic flow surrounding the building and the signs/adverts and design issues that empower employees over customers. Activity support encourages good behaviour in customers and encourages increased business.

'Major industrial or business areas are frequently unoccupied at night and in isolated locations where natural surveillance is not possible. The security of the building itself and the safe movement of any shift workers ....are the main issues.' (4)

So many security issues are needed to be covered. Everything down to the last person leaving the store or the store alone must be secure and this is how the CPTED model helps businesses to make sure they have everything covered.

For this article the key primary sources that the authors used are published studies such as Crow W, Bull J. Robbery Deterrence: an applied behavioural science demonstration (2). The Southern California Injury, Prevention Research Centre (SCIPRC) (6) and many more but to me these were the most useful surveys.
Secondary studies included Lins S Erickson RJ, Stores learn to inconvenience robbers (5). These studies were obtained by a selection of databases and a range of literatures covering topics such as Criminal justice and social science, Criminal justice periodical index, Sociofile and PsycINFO and many more. These studies looked into the CPTED effect on different stores over a period of time, introducing new elements of the CPTED in large shopping stores to small shops. In these studies a number of elements of the model were used at each store so I am unable to clearly see what factors contributed the most to reducing robberies. However, it did prove that using basic store design, cash control and training components were more successful than the stores using equipment systems. This showing that the cheaper methods of control are better than the more expensive ones. CPTED is able to adapt itself to any situation and is proved successful in reducing robberies. The multi-component CPTED methods showed percentage change from -84% to -30%. Out of all the different studies, Crow and Bull were the most helpful and supportive towards CPTED, but there is not enough research of individual components and effects in different business settings. These studies prove that this method is successful in what it aims to do. This article proves that business should follow this idea to help prevent robberies. Overall CPTED is successful in reducing robberies, but this article has not clearly shown the results needed to know what elements of the CPTED model most successfully prevent crime.

I felt I needed something with a clearer outline line of the elements missed, such as the different store types and looking more in depth to some of the prevention method. Whilst looking for more information on crime prevention in retail environment I came across this book, 'Crime and Security, managing the risk to safe shopping.' written by Adrian Beck and Andrew Willis. This book aims to explore the difference between the crime prevention methods taken in large shopping malls with the small high street stores. This books information is collected from the Retail Crime Initiative of the British Retail Consortium (BRC). A survey was taken throughout Scotland, England and Wales and included a number of face to face interviews and a large number of random samples taken from across the countries. This book investigates the differences of safety measures in shops and how effective they are. To start off with I looked into the section on security guards. This was highlighting the topic that security guards only work privately in large shopping malls and not in small high street stores. High street stores are left with just local policing; who I feel cannot be everywhere at once. Obviously the public and shop staff agreed that they would feel safer in the shopping malls and feel there would be less crime in this environment. Also there are plain clothed security guards in shopping malls helping to prevent crime but again only in shopping malls. This helps to catch the criminals but this is not proven successful in fully deterring crime.

Another factor I researched into was that of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV), the study's results showed that it provided both customers and staff with a vote of confidence in both environments. Eight in ten managers in both locations believed it to be effective. More than 90 percent of the shoppers found it acceptable to have CCTV, believing it made them feel safer. I agree with these results in feeling a sense of safety knowing that the CCTV is there. Proving crimes would be a lot more difficult without the help of CCTV.

'The survey found that people who are aware of the cameras felt safe in the city centre streets after dark after cameras were introduced.'(1)

Although there are some who disagree with this for example Webb and Laycock concluded. 'CCTV does not seem very useful in large, complex, and crowded environments to deal with a more surreptitious behaviour such as pick-pocketing or shoplifting.'(7)

I can also relate to this statement and after reading this book, even more so. The book made some interesting points. How much of the time is there someone actually watching the monitor in real time? This shows that they may be able to identify a robbery once it has taken place but then there is the challenge of finding the robber. Also many stores use dummy cameras; cameras there for show that are not recording, to prevent crime. In many cases this is a successful method but robbers may just take their chances. Another factor proving CCTV may not be as effective as it seems, is that staff may feel less inclined to do their job in security too. This links back to my first article, showing that the more basic methods of crime prevention are most successful compared to the equipment systems. After the studies the authors realised that the use of CCTV has a potential, such as dishonesty within the work and the video footage being used for other reasons out with security purposes. From reading this book I feel that the authors want to get the message across that it is best to use these security measures as they contribute to preventing crime but also use the basic methods too.

From reading these two pieces of literature I have come to the conclusion that design can definitely help with the prevention of crime. The first article gave me an outline of the CPTED model and what measures can be taken, showing that it is effective. Although it did not go into great detail of what elements of the model were most successful. My second source was helpful to me, it opened up my views of CCTV and looked into a few areas of crime prevention in more depth looking into the pros and cons of them. Also looking at the differences between large shopping centres and small stores. This book was a very useful source to research giving me a more in depth look into crime prevention in retail environments. From these two sources the results show it is best to use more methods of prevention to help reduce the risk of crime. I feel from researching this topic it has helped me to realise all the different factors that help you feel safe in an environment. Now walking around shopping centres or small stores I am more aware of the security measures that are being carried out. I feel the CPTED is a great way to help the public and shop staff feel safe in these environments and reduce the rates of crime. I feel these sources have helped in the investigation into crime prevention and are proof that Environmental Design can prevent crime.


(1) Brown B (1995) Crime Detection and Prevention series paper 68, CCTV in town centre: three cases studies.

(2) Crow W, Bull J (1975) Robbery deterrence: an applied behavioural science demonstration.

(3) Jeffrey C (1971) Crime prevention through environmental design.

(4) Leicestershire constabulary and Leicestershire city council, Crime prevention through planning and design.

(5) Lin S, Erickson RJ (1998) Stores learn to inconvenience robbers.

(6) Southern California Injury Prevention Centre,(1997) Evaluation of risk factors for workplace violence in liquor stores.

(7) Webb B, Laycock G (1991) Reducing crime on the London underground


Beck A, Willis A (1995) Crime and security - managing the risk to safe shopping, Palgrave Macmillan limited, Leicester.

Brown B (1995) CCTV in town centre: three case studies (crime detection and prevention series 68) England.

Casteel C, Peek-Asa C (2000) Effectiveness of crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) in reducing robberies, Elsevier Inc, Los Angeles.

Leicester City council and Leicestershire Constabulary, (1998) Crime prevention by planning and design, England.

Webb B, Laycock G (1991) Reducing crime on the London Underground. London

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