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Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design in Parking Facilities, Research in Brief

NCJ Number
Date Published
12 pages
Publication Series
Because parking facilities are more likely settings for violent and property crimes than all other real estate except residences, security is one of the most critical issues facing facility owners and operators and crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) can significantly reduce the fear and risk of crime in parking facilities.
CPTED emphasizes the proper design and effective use of a created environment to reduce crime. Many parking facilities lack CPTED design features because most property owners and architects are not familiar with basic crime prevention design concepts. Moreover, zoning ordinances and building codes sometimes hinder the effective use of CPTED principles. Examples of CPTED include landscaping to screen parking facilities, height limits on light poles, and enclosure of exit stairs. CPTED principles should be incorporated into parking facilities at the design and construction stages, since it is often difficult and expensive to upgrade security at a later date. Municipal governments can have a major influence on facility design, and local officials should play a strong role in security planning. The single most important CPTED security feature is lighting which should meet standards of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America. Elevator lobbies and stairs in open parking garages should be open to parking areas except at roof levels where glass enclosures may be provided for weather protection. Where possible, elevators and stairs should be located on the perimeter to permit natural surveillance from exterior public areas via glass back elevators and glass at stairs and elevator lobbies. Access control and perimeter security should always be considered at the initial design stage, and emergency communications such as panic buttons and closed circuit television should be considered to enhance CPTED in high-risk parking facilities. Specific ways local officials can encourage CPTED are identified, such as building codes and zoning ordinances, and ordinances in Minneapolis-St. Paul are briefly described. 19 notes

Date Published: January 1, 1996