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South Salt Lake Journal

Home safety starts in the yard with design principles

May 18, 2020 12:43PM ● By Bill Hardesty

Examples of how to apply CPTED principles around your residence. (Courtesy of SSLPDl)

By Bill Hardesty | [email protected]

It seems that there are so many restrictions because of COVID-19. However, one action still available is yardwork. To be more specific, landscaping.


Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) are principles that are intended to reduce crime by creating a “physical environment that positively influences human behavior” according to the National Crime Prevention Council.

“Crime impacts the way most of us live our lives, whether in ways real or perceived. It can be managed but also can bleed the social, economic, and physical life out of neighborhoods. Criminal activities are ever-changing and require responses that minimize the opportunities for their occurrence. Using proven CPTED strategies can help reduce the incidence and fear of crime, and improve the overall quality of life,” said Sgt. Bill Hogan of the Community Resource Division.

CPTED design principles center around five overlapping strategies:

Natural surveillance: This strategy is about line of sight. The idea is that you can see intruders and offenders from your residence, or they are easily seen from those passing by. For example, think how low-hanging tree branches block the view of your front door from the street.

Territorial reinforcement: This strategy is to extend the sphere of influence of your residence. The key is to make things look like someone is in control of the property. For example, a fence indicating your property line.

Natural access control: This strategy is about controlling access to your property. You want to deny access to offenders or give them the perception that there is a risk. For example, a security company’s lawn sign.

Maintenance: This strategy is about ownership. You want to show that the property is yours by taking care of it. For example, pull the weeds, water and mow the grass and trim hedges.

Target hardening: This strategy is about increasing security by adding locks, security alarms, types of windows, and other methods to prevent crime. For example, using an alarm company or having motion sensor lights around your residence.

The South Salt Lake Community Development Department has required CPTED planning for commercial and public projects for some time. Fitts Park is a great example. From the 500 East parking lot, you can almost see the entire park. At night, lights remain on pavilions and other key areas.

SSLPD is ready to help

The graphic used to illustrate this article was supplied by SSLPD. It gives homeowners ideas how to incorporate CPTED into their landscaping.

Besides providing information, the Community Resource Division will come out to your home (post COVID-19 restrictions) and provide you with an assessment. Currently, they are answering emails, using the phone, and meeting with people online.

“Those of us in more of a crime prevention role are working a lot by email, phone, Zoom, etc. But, as soon as we begin getting back to normal, we are happy to take those requests,” Hogan said.

Call 801-412-3600 to set up an appointment or for more information.

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