What is in this article?:
- Planning Safer Schools
- SCHOOL STRATEGIES
CPTED strategies for schools.
CPTED principles and strategies can result in safe, orderly and comfortable schools.
The physical environment can dramatically affect feelings, behavior and the way in which we view others. It also can affect the safety and perceived safety of those who use the environment. Conscientious design, appropriate use and good maintenance of properties can promote positive social interaction, orderly behavior and increased perceptions of safety. These assertions are the basis of an evolving body of knowledge and public-safety initiatives referred to as Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED).
CPTED principles and strategies can result in safe, orderly and comfortable schools. These strategies also can minimize the effect of target hardening and “high-tech” security measures, which students may perceive as creating a fortress- or prison-like atmosphere. As an added benefit, many CPTED strategies enhance a school's aesthetic qualities and bolster the sense of pride that students, faculty, administrators, parents and community members have in the school.
To use CPTED effectively, a school needs to involve those responsible for school design, use and maintenance. The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), which offers CPTED training, says schools should include designers, administrators, facilities personnel, law-enforcement officials, teachers and students as they identify and develop appropriate strategies.
Conditions and behaviors in a school can create either apprehension and fear or a sense of comfort and order. When asked what physical conditions create feelings of a lack of safety, most people respond with the factors that follow.
Environmental conditions that create apprehension, fear and an unsafe environment:
Isolation; dim or dark areas; deserted or seldom-used spaces; vacant or abandoned buildings; Unkempt areas (litter, weeds); unsecured entrances or exits; signs of vandalism (graffiti, broken windows); disorientation; crowding and congestion; areas hidden from view; and no optional routes.
Behavior that increases apprehension and fear:
Inappropriate behavior; disorderly behavior; and illegal activities.
Associated factors that decrease comfort and a sense of security:
Lack of authority; no source of assistance; inconsistent enforcement of standards and rules.
On the other hand, environmental conditions that foster feelings of safety, order and comfort include:
Good lighting; occupied, actively used buildings; well-maintained areas; secured entrances and exits; signs of caring (art, murals, gardens, landscaping); clear orientation; adequate and predictable room for movement; adequate sightlines; and alternative paths.
Behavior that increases comfort and a sense of security:
Appropriate behavior; orderly behavior; and legitimate activities.
Associated factors that increase comfort and a sense of security:
Presence of authority, and access to assistance.