Chris Lipnickey, CPO, CSS (Cand.)
12 May 2004
Universities and colleges throughout the country receive a swarm of new students every semester. These students are either attracted to the academic programs that are offered on the campus, or the campus itself. Attractive campuses are often the deciding factor when individuals choose a school, the campus also tends to retain students. Public safety directors are faced with numerous issues surrounding the campus regarding safety, security and student retention to the campus. One issue is the Campus Security and Student Right-to-Know Act; commonly called the Clery Act; enforced by the US Department of Education, which mandates that all crime must be reported and disclosed publicly, similar to the Uniform Crime Reports. If Clery regulations are not followed a monetary fine from the Department of Education will soon follow. there is also substantial amounts of negative publicity surrounding the institution.
Campus officials strive to maintain a safe and secure campus environment, while at the same time maintaining a pleasant aesthetic look to the campus that so many colleges and universities are known for. Proactive measures are traditionally taken to aid in the prevention of crime. Crime prevention though environmental design, or CPTED, is a viable approach.
Part I: A Brief Definition of CPTED in use on College Campuses
For years target hardening along with defense in depth has been the standard approach used. Since the dawn of time, man has thought of ways to intimidate attackers from selecting their top10domain as a target. The basic concept of protecting a target focuses around implementing and installing physical barriers or deterrents. Defense- in - depth, a concept adopted from the military, refers to the placing of an asset in an inner ring of protection, with numerous other protective rings that aid in the protection of the asset. The defense- in - depth approach is also applied in CPTED.
The concept of CPTED places emphasis on the physical design of the environment and advocates proactive approaches through these designs to deter crime. As noted by Fay (1993) there are numerous components to this model such as:
1 Territorial definition
o "… is the territorial definition of the physical areas in a residential environment that fall under the influence of the inhabitants."
o "… is the positioning of windows in a manner that allows residents to survey the public space adjacent to and surrounding their individual residences."
3 Building forms
o "… adaptation of structural forms to establish an image of security."
4 Compatible building placement
o "Enhancing security and safety by locating residential developments in functionally sympathetic urban areas adjacent to non- threatening activities."
By incorporating the design elements of CTPED into a dormitory, student activity areas, buildings, or parking lots; one, would be able to reduce crime significantly, as well as maintain the asthetic look that college campuses strive for. To further understand the elements using crime prevention incorporated into design, it is necessary to break the many elements down.
The use of territory definition is the first major element in crime prevention; it is necessary to convey to others that the space they are currently in is private. Defining a campus from public space is, at times, extremely difficult. Campuses have always been known to blend in and mesh with their 'home towns'. However, territoriality can be accomplished in numerous ways. As noted by the Department of the Army (2001) "At times, symbolic shrubs or fences reinforce a boundary."(B-18) Simply stated; using a distinct landscaping pattern can aid in territorial definition by informing people that the property that they are now on is the campus's property. These types of definers can be used in the following applications:
Distinctive barriers create more of a psychological obstacle than a physical one; however they do deter, and create a more pleasing look. The purpose of territorial definition is not to stop but to deter. In the cases of side walks and road ways it can be a change in the bricks or pavement. With landscaping it can be applied to something as simple as grass. Light, naturally thought of as a deterrent at night, can also be applied during the day time. As decorative lamp posts and fixtures help to define public versus private space. The use of walls in crime prevention is a rudimentary element in protection of a property; however, walls built to stop an attacker often incorporate razor ribbon and other such negative environmental elements. Campuses do not want to become walled Greek cities. Fencing can be used in a lighter role, incorporating lower decorative brick walls. Landscaping employed can also serve as a strong deterrent. For example, a small college campus has its property surrounded by a three foot high brick wall with barberry and other thorny plants around it. Such a barrier serves to denote private space. As noted by the Department of the Army (2001) "Both physical and symbolic barriers serve the same purpose - to inform an individual that he is passing from a public space to a private space." (B-19).
Definition of a property not only aids in deterring others from approaching or breaching that perimeter but it also conveys the message to students that this area is the home of the students. Students can then also take a progressive approach to crime prevention on campus: by defining the campus boundary it has now been established that this property is the student's home. Often students report trespassers or other suspicious individuals before they are noticed by public safety officers. Clearly defining the territory of the campus allows the students to take a proactive approach to crime prevention and contribute to a safe and secure environment.
The incorporation of natural surveillance into a building can substantially aid in crime prevention. Designing window placement so as that it can over look areas gives students the ability to see where they are going as well as to inform others that the students can see them. Natural surveillance usually involves:
1 Proper lighting
2 Clear areas
3 Views from protective areas
The most common application of natural surveillance is applied in open air stairways or stairways with large windows to the outside. Usually these are adjacent to parking areas or other large common areas. The clear zone; the area that has no barriers to block vision around the stairwel;, is well lit and an intruder would be easily seen from someone in the stairwell. The stairwell also provides a protected view; would- be assailants then lose the advantage of intimidation, since the observer is shielded from harm. When applied to blue light call boxes, natural surveillance in parking locations and large public space areas significantly cut down on crime. The Department of the Army (2001) states: "By providing opportunities for surveillance through the positioning of windows in relation to stairs, corridors, or outside areas, continued natural observation will be maintained and crime will be deterred." (B-21)
Unfortunately, many college campuses in the nation are older institutions that are not going to rebuild simply to incorporate CPTED. However, when new structures are erected on campuses more and more public safety directors are found on the planning board. These directors help ensure that new facilities are designed according to relevant standards. To aid in the surveillance and avoid lawsuits there are published lighting recommendations that should be used throughout campuses to aid in surveillance and deterrence. As noted by O'Sullivan (2003) certain lighting standards should be followed:
1 Perimeter or open boundary 0.15- 0.4fc
2 Vehicle entrances 1.0fc
3 Pedestrian entrance 2.0fc
4 Exterior of buildings 1.0fc
5 Open yards 0.2fc
Interestingly, it has not been uncommon for colleges to go above and beyond specified lighting standards, giving all individuals on campus at night a clear view of their surroundings. In an effort to counter lack of CPTED in the building design, one can simply create more public space around the building to be used as natural surveillance; this involves creating more activity space. As Riegal observes (2002) "Activity support seeks to fill an area with legitimate users thereby displacing potential illegitimate activity." (p 28). Areas surrounding dormitories and academic centers can be exploited: larger common sitting areas around dormitories invite students to 'hang out'. By doing this natural surveillance is again applied. When placing 'blue lights' or emergency call boxes be sure to take into account where the most activity will be and where they can also be used as deterrents. It is important to remember when planning to implement surveillance measures that the goal is to eliminate the opportunity for the crime to be committed.
Building forms and Design
Though many public safety directors will have difficult time convincing other college officials to replace the current buildings with ones that have CPTED integrated into them, it may be possible to change buildings that already exist. Access control is an issue that comes up again and again in all levels of asset protection. Simple signage is the easiest way to post access levels, but there is no way to absolutely control the flow of students and other individuals around public space. Many times access control can be combined with natural surveillance; landscaping and other such natural barriers can be used to channel the flow of pedestrian movement in a path of the designers choosing. College students will inevitably travel the way that is the fastest, most convenient, easiest and driest. Using covered walk ways as well as pathways encompassed by gardens can aid in directing public traffic.
Providing barriers is another effective way to provide integrated natural access control on a campus. As defined by the Department of the Army (2001) "Barriers restrict, channel, or impede access and are fully intergrated to form a continuous obstacle around the installation." (p 4-1). Using planters and out door seating can also aid in funneling traffic along a path of the designers choosing.
Current campus buildings can be updated to meet more recent "industry" CPTED practices. Door handles, can be designed into a building so as not to be placed near a glass window where an individual can reach around and open the door. Simply changing the style door knob can accomplish this. Signage barriers and locking devices can be added so that CPTED concepts are integrated into an existing campus.
Building design also incorporates specific standards which in turn should be adhered to. The Department of the Army (2001) notes in regards to building design and elements that "… they are associated with everything beyond five feet from a building. They can include perimeter barriers, landforms, and standoff distances." (p 3-1). As noted by the Army's Field Manual, the common practice when designing a building is to us all features associated within five feet of the building in the design of that building in an effort to reduce crime.
Compatible building placement
The final element as noted by Fay (1993) is the placement of the buildings in the surrounding community to make them less susceptible to crime. Conversely, the majority of educational institutions throughout the country are already firly implanted within the surrounding community. However, the strategic placement of select crime prevention tools and the employment of other CPTED principles can be used effectively. A few of these are:
1 Activity areas or positive activity support
2 Blue light call boxes
3 Natural access control
By placing activity areas that are well traveled and can serve as natural surveillance then the campus is eliminating an area that is susceptible to crime. The same is true for blue light call boxes and the use of natural access control. However, when constructing new additions to the college it is imperative to meet with local police chiefs and have the ability to share crime statistics. The easiest way to avoid crime in a new parking lot is not to build it near a high crime street. This final principle is perhaps the most significant while designing the placement of entirely new structures, however many colleges throughout the nation already have a home base and are simply renovating facilities.
Fixing "Broken Windows"
The broken windows theory also relates to this approach with the design on crime prevention into the buildings and the natural environment. Basically stated, the broken windows theory means that communities with broken or unkempt windows breed more crime. For instance, if vandalism should occur then it should be immediately attended to so to leave no trace of the occurrence. In short this presents the appearance of a secure and friendly environment thus deterring criminal activity. The theory places emphasis on the old idea that respect begets respect. Individuals will greatly respect and contribute to the upkeep of a community if it already has a pleasant appearance. In policing, the theory incorporates cracking down on street crime and the like. In a campus security application the basics remain the same: fix what is 'broken' immediately. One demands that no low level crimes occur, this in turn leads to eliminating more serious offenses. With CPTED, one wants an environment that looks safe and secure.
Part II: CTPED, Liability and Evolving Guidelines
The United States has recently become a haven for lawsuits centering on surrounding negligence. College campuses are no exception, CPTED is a topic that is extremely enigmatic and it is commonly a hard theory to sell. On the other hand there is much to gain by having a campus that applies CPTED, for one the public safety budget is saved because the cost is usually shifted to other entities such as buildings/ grounds.
However, one would have to justify the use of such principles on a campus in order to avoid liability. Simply put, officers will still be needed to patrol and guidelines shall be followed if one wants to avoid law suits. First one must outline specific issues that should be adhered to. As defined by ASIS International (2003) in the General Security Risk Assessment Guideline:
1 Asset- "Any real or personal property, tangible or intangible, that a company or individual owns that can be given or assigned a monetary value… For the purpose of this guideline, people are included as assets."
o Regarding liability, people are the greatest asset to be protected. They should have a reasonable feeling of protection from rape, assault, robberies, vehicle break ins and other forms of violent crime.
2 Risk- "The possibility of loss resulting from a threat, security incident, or event."
o The risks are most commonly associated with types of violent crime on educational campuses
3 Probability- "The chance, or in some cases, the mathematical certainty that a given event will occur; the ratio of the number of outcomes in an exhaustive set of equally likely outcomes that produce a given event to the total number of possible outcomes."
o Simply stated, 'was the event reasonably foreseeable?' Taking note of types of crime that occur as well as the time frame of occurrence will greatly enhance the ability to predict the crimes in the area and defend properly. Going over campus public safety crime reports, as well as local community crime records (if available) is a way to predict the crime at a given site.
Identification of the crime to be protected against is the key principle here. For example, one college had a problem with numerous vehicle break-ins at a semi remote parking lot with no natural surveillance and a small activity area. To counter this, the college created a roadway though the parking lot, thus promoting more vehicle activity and increasing the natural surveillance of the parking lot. The public safety director then also added increased vehicle patrol in the area that with the new roadway could provide constant random patrol. Simple steps were followed which permitted the drop in crime. If no action was taken, a lawsuit could result from an attack on a student. The college could have then faced a potential negligence action on that grounds that the college had knowledge that vehicles in the particular parking lot were at higher risk of break in than those in other lots.
When college officials choose to incorporate CPTED into a campus it may be good business practice to consider two basic steps to avoid liability:
Implementation of CPTED must be executed diligently and professionally. Comparing the current campus to similar campuses is needed to justify the development of a substantial CPTED scheme. Likewise consulting with an individual with specific training or knowledge in the area of CPTED may be beneficial. Consequently, colleges researching CPTED should compare their campus with others of similar size and demographics as well as consult with those campuses public safety directors. By comparing and consulting, the college can then develop the best possible program. They can also better defend the actions undertaken to implement CPTED if they are ever challenged.
Never-the-less, there are particular standards which one must be should adhered to. For example, the Army's Field Manual has numerous standards that should be employed when creating clear zones and other defensive rings. There are community standards that may be researched by simply polling other colleges in similar areas. By cloning one system it can be proven that the risk was assessed, probability measured and appropriate actions were taken into account using proven community and industry practices to protect the asset (the students). Consequently, there ARE standards that campuses should adhere to. There are specific recommendations on lighting, fencing, roof accesses etc. These organizations provide standards and information relating to CPTED:
1 ASIS International, www.asisonline.org
o Publishes numerous guidelines as well as offers a wide selection of security resources and offers two certifications that can be related to campus public safety.
2 Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA), www.iesna.org
o Establishes recommendations for area lighting
3 International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA), www.iaclea.org
o Publishes recommendations for public safety directors as well as working on accreditation for campus public safety departments
4 International CPTED Association (ICA), www.cpted.net
o Offers membership and publishes newsletters, as well as offers a certification to establish individuals with a strong competence in the area of CPTED.
5 National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), www.ncpc.org
o Offers crime prevention training programs which focus on CPTED and publishes hand books on CPTED.
6 National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), www.nfpa.org
o Publishes numerous fire codes as well as a building and safety codes, is currently drafting a security guideline as well.
7 National Institute of Crime Prevention (NICP), www.nicp.net or www.cptedtraining.net
o Provides two levels of training in CPTED a basic course and an advanced course for individuals involved with crime prevention.
8 The Department of Education, www.ed.gov
o Enforces and updates the Clery Legislation, monitors the safe schools program.
It is the responsibility of the public safety director to know if these recommendations are followed. It can then be proven that the public safety department used good business practices in providing 'reasonable and due care'. This can form the basis for a solid defense in court.
The majority of these guidelines are continually evolving. However, guidelines that are published by ASIS International and followed by Campus Public Safety departments convey the message that the colleges are committed to the safety of individuals on campus. Likewise, the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Agency is currently providing training for the recent updating of the Clery Legislation. IACLEA is also developing an accreditation program for public safety departments. Adherence to standards such as these as well as community practices greatly reduces liability. When CPTED is employed one must be able to justify why the design was selected and what the effect of implementing it would be. It is important to JUSTIFY management actions with data to prove that the design principle was either proven else where or adheres to a regulatory agencies standards or guidelines.
For more information on CPTED regarding regulatory agencies, guidelines, training or standards please consult the following sources:
1 ASIS International
2 Illuminating Engineering Society of North America
3 International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators
4 International CPTED Association
5 National Crime Prevention Council
6 National Institute of Crime Prevention
7 National Fire Protection Agency
8 The US Department of Education
ASIS International. (2003). General security risk assessment guideline. Alexandria, Author.
Atlas, R. (2002, May/ June). Barry university security and CPTED case study. Campus Law Enforcement Journal, 32(3), 31- 35.
Fay, J. J. (Ed.) (1993). Encyclopedia of security management. Crime prevention though environmental design: defensible and offensible[sic] space (pp. 200-202). Boston: Butterworth - Heinemann
Garcia, M. L. (2001). The design and evaluation of physical protection systems. Boston: Butterworth- Heinemann
Headquarters, Department of the Army. (2001). US army physical security field manual: FM3-19.30. Washington, DC. Author.
O'Sullivan, D. A. (2003). Protection officer training manual (7th ed.). Davies, S. J. & R. R. Minion (Eds.). Physical Security Applications (pp. 76-86). Boston: Butterworth - Heinemann
Pearsin, R. (1997, September). Security though environmental design. Security Technology and Design, 7(7), 8-12.
Riegel, L. I. (2002, Jan/ Feb). Crime prevention though environmental design in parking. Campus Law Enforcement Journal, 32(1), 28- 29.
Chris Lipnickey is a senior Criminal Jsutice major at York College of Pennsylvania. He is a sergeant with the York College Department of Public Safety and is a Certified protection Officer. He is also a candidate for designation as a Certified Security Supervisor. Mr. Lipnickey is a member of ASIS International and Alpha Phi Sigma.