Landscaping – Crime Prevention through Environmental Design

I conducted a review of a client car park last week in regards to work health and safety and security.

There were several opportunities that overgrown shrubbery provided concealment for potential offenders waiting for workers to return to their cars or steal from motor vehicle offences.

Crime prevention through environmental design promotes effective surveillance as a key to reducing crime. Natural surveillance and guardianship should be fundamental considerations in landscape design.

  • When organisations are considering landscape design, the following should be considered:
    All walls and severe grades are reduced (in size) to increase vision.
  • Planting trees and shrubs complies with the principles of crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED). All plants, shrubs and ground cover should be maintained at a maximum of .6 metres above the ground to reduce opportunities for concealment for perpetrators of crime. The branches of trees should be maintained to a minimum of 1.8 metres from the ground to ensure clear sightlines through the area that are not reduced by low-hanging branches or foliage.
  • Pathways and bicycle routes should have three to five metres of cleared space on either side of the pathway, and vegetation should be stepped or sloped back in height to maximise sight lines.
  • Develop a vegetation maintenance program.
  • Plant sparse-growth flora outside the fence to prevent a fortress presentation. For example, Bougainvillea or similar thorn-producing plants (planted along walls) work well as they offer an aesthetically pleasing break from long fence runs, whilst their thorns deter access over the fencing through the hedge.
  • All lighting should be regularly checked for overgrown shrubbery that could prevent the effective distribution of light
  • Avoid shrubbery that provides camouflage and concealment of cut-off dead spaces or isolated pockets of land within a park that can be overlooked.
  • Ensure landscaping provides clear sightlines of paths in parks and open spaces and allows for natural surveillance.
  • Where possible, plants and topography should not block views of paths and open spaces from surrounding streets and houses.

Please review this information when reviewing your workplace, or call us for further advice.

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