Crime prevention through environmental design gains popularity. The new ISO 22341 and other news

For years, criminology and other disciplines have raised the need for a cross-cutting, multi-actor approach to dealing with security.

One of the more structured cross-cutting approaches is Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) which, in essence, responds to the questions raised by environmental criminology through knowledge of how our surroundings (environment) condition security (and crime) and the methodologies that need to be designed and used to work in this field effectively. Although initially focused on the design of physical spaces, CPTED has since been extended to include social aspects relating to the movements and activities of the population within those spaces, a critical factor when considering security-related issues.

The approaches proposed by CPTED have been adopted, more or less implicitly, by influential organisations such as the European Forum for Urban Security (EFUS), the Spanish Forum for Prevention and Urban Security (FEPSU), and by several urban regeneration projects in various cities around us.

Recent developments have confirmed the growing influence of this perspective and increased recognition of its effectiveness. A long standardisation process finally resulted in the approval of technical recommendations (CEN/TR 14383-2) in 2007, and this year, an ISO has been approved globally, ISO 22341, demonstrating the consolidation of the approach. The ISO constitutes an agreement on the minimum standards required to ensure environmental design principles are respected in specific spaces and areas. While the standards may still be more centred on the more physical aspects of spaces, they confirm the movement’s widespread acceptance.

The European Cutting Crime Impact (CCI) project, of which the Ministry of Home Affairs is a member, has also included this approach to prevention among its four fundamental lines of work as an effective and reliable way to reduce insecurity and limit its impact.

In Catalonia, multiple security, criminology and police professionals have recognised the need for a structured approach to promoting this type of prevention, creating the Catalan Association for the Prevention of Insecurity through Environmental Design (ACPIDA), which will be launched publicly and begin its activities in the coming months. Integrated within the framework of the International Association for the Prevention of Crime through Environmental Design (ICA), it will provide training, information and advice in the field.

Finally, on a state level, a new Spanish publication called A guide to crime prevention. Security, urban design, citizen participation and police action, provides a clear and practical guide on how to apply the CPTED principles to public spaces. César San Juan and Laura Vozmediano, professors at the University of the Basque Country and prestigious authors in the field of environmental criminology, have made an effort to translate the principles into concrete actions that can act as a practical guide for a range of public security managers and actors when planning, renovating and organising public spaces. The work offers the considerable benefit of clarity and exemplification by specifying how public spaces should be designed and how the various actors involved must adopt CPTED principles in order to ensure the resulting spaces facilitate security and quality of life for all who use them.


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