What the Hell Is CPTED? And How Much Does It Cost?

In short, CPTED (pronounced Sep-Ted, for some reason) stands for Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. And it costs you nothing if you go to tonight’s CPTED meeting at City Hall:

Mayor Mike McGinn and the Seattle Police Department, in collaboration with the Downtown Seattle Association and the American Institute of Architects, will be hosting a two-hour seminar on Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design.

This seminar is being offered free of charge to the public and will be conducted by Mr. Art Hushen of the National Institute of Crime Prevention. Mr. Hushen is in Seattle teaching a 40-hour class to members of the Seattle Police Department and other city agencies. No advance registration is required and anyone interested is welcome to attend.

The seminar will be held on Wednesday, August 25 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Bertha Knight Landes room of City Hall, 600 4th Avenue in downtown Seattle.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) concept, CPTED practices encourage changes in the physical design of our buildings, streets and parks to enhance safety in communities and minimize the opportunities for crime to be committed. “It is the responsibility of every city department to support the safety of the public,” said McGinn. “The Seattle Police Department has brought in Mr. Hushen to help our city see each and every project through the lens of crime prevention. This seminar is a good opportunity for members of the public to learn from his expertise.”

CPTED practices have been in use for over 20 years in cities throughout the United States and around the world. Cities that have implemented CPTED practices have seen a dramatic reduction in crime. Those cities have also seen significant improvement in their business climate as CPTED principles foster increased pedestrian activity and awareness. “CPTED is yet another example of design making a difference,” said Lisa Richmond, Executive Director, AIA Seattle.

“The CPTED seminar will emphasize one of the most important principles in public safety: it’s the little things that matter,” said Councilmember Tim Burgess. “Lighting, view corridors and other environmental designs all greatly contribute to the safety of homes and entire neighborhoods.”

“Having an inviting, clean and safe urban environment is important to us all, particularly to the 58,000 people who live downtown,” said Kate Joncas, president of the Downtown Seattle Association. “Smart ideas on how architectural design can play a role in shaping that environment will no doubt have wide appeal to everyone from residents to developers.”

Crimes of opportunity such as theft, car prowls, burglaries, vandalism, and assault do not just affect the victim, they cause changes in the community at large which, while subtle at first, can have a profound effect on everyone who lives, works and visits Seattle. The CPTED practices are one of many tools we can use to reduce crime, increase positive community involvement, and keep our community thriving.

Councilmember Sally J. Clark said, “Our police, active and caring communities, and the design of the built environment all contribute to safe, sustainable neighborhoods. I’m glad to have Mr. Hushen here to highlight how Seattle can improve neighborhood design to limit crime.”