Sheriff's Office

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (C.P.T.E.D.)

Every 14.5 seconds someone in the United States will be burglarized. Help reduce your chances of being a victim of crime by utilizing CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design). A proactive approach offered by the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office.

C.P.T.E.D. works by eliminating criminal opportunities in and around a property. A criminal may avoid giving it a second look if the recommended precautions have been taken to ensure a safer property. There are three things to consider when making your property safer: 1.) natural surveillance, 2.) access control, and 3.) territorial potential.

Natural Surveillance

When considering natural surveillance, ask yourself: does landscaping or fencing obscure views from neighboring properties or streets? Are there any adult-sized hiding spots around my doors or windows? Are there areas of contrast and shadow around my building where intruders can linger undetected? If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions then you need to improve your property's natural surveillance by changing your lighting, landscaping, or fencing so intruders in your yard can be observed from the outside.

Access Control Review

Access control review is where you need to take a fresh look at your property's access set up. Ask yourself: do people routinely violate my property or fence lines? Do people access my property in ways other than I intended? Do any existing access routes lack natural surveillance? As a result of the placement of outdoor furniture, equipment, utilities, or landscaping, is there potential to access a window or door/opening that would be otherwise inaccessible?

Again if you answered "yes" to any of the questions, then your property probably needs access control improvement. You can install fencing or change landscaping to increase awareness if someone attempts to breach a boundary of your property. Consider maintenance requirements and how it may affect natural surveillance with maturity. When you choose landscaping, "harsh" species (thorny) prove effective to ward off intruders.


Another avenue to consider is your property's territoriality. Here you need to ask yourself: do strangers trespass on my property regularly? Is my property used as a short cut? Does my property have an unkempt or un-lived in look? Are there sections of my property that seem to attract loitering? Again any "yes" response should increase your concern. Here you must seek to extend a sphere of influence around your property. Businesses and homes can do this by strategically placed flowerbeds, low fences, walls, signage, and hedges. It also shows pride in ownership by regular maintenance.

Target Hardening

Target hardening is another crime preventative tactic to contemplate. Simply, you are making the target harder to get to. The most common access point into a residence by thieves is the front door, second is first floor windows. Door reinforcement using strike plates, dead bolts, escutcheon plates, latch guards are additional security features for consideration. In addition, security window locks, alarm systems and types of security glass are excellent target hardening techniques. The most overlooked security deterrent on the market now is security window film. It slows down criminals from entering a premise while police are on route when alerted by alarm companies. With break-ins, 60% are through glass, as they want in and out as quickly as possible. It also prevents broken glass from entering the inside of your premise, aiding in clean up. Consider glass security first and then, door security.

If you are interested in scheduling a CPTED evaluation FREE of charge. Contact the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office Community Liaison Unit by telephone at: 316-660-3920 or email us at

Resource Links & Articles

National Criminal Justice Reference Service