CPTED Revisited

Architects, campus facilities practitioners, and campus safety professionals have a new tool to assist them in designing superior campus facilities. 21st Century Security and CPTED – Designing for Critical Infrastructure Protection and Crime Prevention authored by Dr. Randall Atlas (CRC Press) affords a solid resource for the field using a series of his articles, new chapters, and segments by distinguished contributing authors.  Dr. Atlas is both an architect and a Ph.D. Criminologist, and has lectured and consulted extensively on the topic of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design or CPTED (pronounced sep-ted). In his new book, Dr. Atlas revisits the concepts of first and second generation CPTED, with an eye towards integration of its powerful concepts into the early phases of facility design.

Unintentional Flaws
Sadly, it is all too common for campus facilities to be built with serious safety design flaws that are expensive and sometimes almost impossible to correct. The proper application of CPTED and integrated safety, security, and emergency management planning into the early design phase can dramatically improve facility design while saving large sums of money, and in rare cases, perhaps millions of dollars. A number of top CPTED experts — such as Timothy Crowe (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) and Oscar Newman (Creating Defensible Space), to name just two — have made significant contributions to the field of safe campus facility design. The work of our top CPTED experts has made a lasting impression on many campus facilities. This latest work on the topic will be a valuable resource for those who are involved in designing or renovating higher education facilities. As CPTED concepts frequently become an issue in security related litigation, the book is even more valuable to those who design, build, and protect campus facilities. 

I had the pleasure of seeing Dr. Atlas present at a national campus safety conference several years ago and to co-present with him at a two-day advanced campus facility design workshop at the National Crime Prevention Institute a couple of years ago. In addition to being a good writer, he is also a talented presenter. I have urged him for several years to come out with a book and am glad to see his valuable contribution to the field in print. For those who are not well versed on CPTED and supporting concepts, this book is a good primer, while also providing new information for even the most knowledgeable CPTED enthusiasts, consultants, presenters, and practitioners.

Safety for Different Settings

The book is not written specifically for a higher education audience, but does include a chapter dedicated to K–12 schools and colleges. The book instead covers CPTED and a variety of related topics for a wide range of settings. For higher-education security professionals, this can be a plus at times, even though the book is not centered on higher-ed topics alone.

For example, the book contains specific chapters on singular topics that may be relevant, such as designing against workplace violence, and graphics, signage, and wayfinding for security. At times the book can be a bit repetitious due to a heavy reliance on articles as the basis for chapters because some themes are being repeated in the source articles. At the same time, repetition has been shown to enhance learning, particularly with concepts like CPTED, which can at times become a rather technical subject. The author also offers a variety of solid examples of proper CPTED applications in this book.

Campus administrators and higher-education security and police officials would have far easier jobs if CPTED were more often and properly applied in campus construction and renovation projects. Following the advice Dr. Atlas offers in his new book to bring CPTED and related concepts into the early planning phases for renovations and particularly for new project construction would save money; help prevent crime; and make students, employees, and visitors feel more comfortable on our nation’s higher-education campuses.

The time it takes to read this new book will be recouped a thousand times over from just one of the many hundreds of valuable insights it contains.

I am grateful to Dr. Atlas for his significant contribution to the field of campus safety professionals with this labor of his professional passion, and the resulting design of safer environments for work, play, and learning.

About the Author

Michael Dorn serves as the executive director for Safe Havens International, Inc., an IRS-approved, nonprofit safety center. He has authored and co-authored more than 20 books on campus safety. He can be reached through the Safe Havens website at www.safehavensinternational.org.

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