How Environmental Design Can Help Your Business

Protect your company with environmental design tips from Kaylee Friend.

By Rae Swan Snobl

Mar 2022

Kaylee Friend Headshot
Photo by Owens PhotographyKaylee Friend of the Springfield PD recommends businesses conduct a self-assessment to determine if they are doing their part to establish a safe and secure environment.

Most business owners create a welcoming landscape exterior that attracts clients and employees but might overlook making it unwelcome for criminals. Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, or CPTED, has been around since the 1960s. It was adopted by the Springfield Police Department in 2004 as a community and government partnership to prevent crime and break-ins. “CPTED attempts to apply physical design, citizen participation and law enforcement strategies in a comprehensive way to protect neighborhoods or facilities,” says Sgt. Kaylee Friend of the Springfield PD. CPTED works by eliminating criminal opportunities in and around a property. “This can result in a property being a less appealing target,” says Friend. “Crimes decrease if the opportunity to commit crime is reduced or eliminated.”

There are four outdoor components businesses can implement to deter criminals and comply with CPTED principles. Natural surveillance includes the placement of physical features, activities and people in a way that maximizes visibility of a possible crime. Landscapes should be designed to allow clear, unobstructed views of surrounding areas. Natural access control involves controlling access to a site. “People are physically guided through a space by the strategic design of streets, sidewalks, building entrances and landscaping,” Friend says. Territorial reinforcement encourages the use of physical attributes that demonstrate ownership such as fencing, pavement treatments, signage and landscaping. The final component is maintenance or the upkeep of a property’s landscaping, fencing and building. “A maintenance plan is essential in landscaping,” says Friend. “Poor landscaping can reduce visibility, disrupt access control and create ambush points.” 

Businesses can conduct a self-assessment and determine if they are doing their part to establish a safe and secure environment for their customers and staff with these security practices. They can also contact their Police Area Representative (PAR) Officer to schedule a free security survey by calling 417-864-1810 or going online to the official City of Springfield website and searching “PAR Officer.”