Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design: A Case Study of a Neighbourhood in Toronto, Canada

Emma Patterson, McGill University

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) focusses on the spatial dimension of crime and examines how the built environment has the potential to increase or decrease opportunities for criminal activity. Environmental change can positively affect both real and perceived crime rates and hence, increase quality of life. This study explores key elements of 'safety' design and applies them to a high density, low-income neighborhood in Toronto. This involves spatial analysis of crime patterns, using GIS techniques. The data, including information from residents, police and members of community interest groups, are mapped to reveal areas commonly identified as safe or dangerous. These sites are physically assessed and safety audits are conducted in order to provide recommendations for redesigning danger zones. This intervention strategy is but one piece of the crime prevention puzzle. It is particularly appropriate in times of government cutbacks on social spending because it can be treated as a local economic development initiative and consequently, funded through public sector contributions. However, the public interest must be served and it is imperative that CPTED be applied with the participation and backing of community users in order to ensure the success of the project log after researchers and planners have withdrawn.

(Return to Program Resources)

Updated 05/20/2006