Pair-with-Offset-PullsSomeone recently asked me, “What is CPTED?” 

CPTED (pronounced sep-ted) stands for Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, and is defined as “a multi-disciplinary approach to deterring criminal behavior through environmental design.”  The concept is that by incorporating certain design elements or modifications, we can influence a potential offender before a criminal act takes place.  For example, increasing exterior lighting and reducing landscaping that could conceal an intruder may discourage attempts for unauthorized entry to a building.

CPTED strategies can be useful in any type of facility, and there are numerous training programs and resource materials available.  Given the current focus on school security, some of the materials are specific to educational facilities.  The concepts used in CPTED are valuable for analyzing schools, and there are often simple changes that can be made to reduce the likelihood of an intruder entering the building.  Some of these concepts may seem like common sense, but it’s all about balance – providing a safe environment without negatively impacting the educational experience.

There is an article by Brad Spicer in Campus Safety Magazine called 11 Components of a Secure School Front Entrance, which includes some good ideas about implementing CPTED for the front entrance doors in a school.  I like that he mentioned the use of mullions (although a mullion often sits behind the doors rather than “between double doors” as the article states).  I’m not sure, though, about the recommendation for door pulls and push bars to be flush with the door to prevent them from being tied together.  I agree that it’s important to avoid that if possible, but the ADA Guide recommends 1 1/2 inches of clearance behind door pulls, creating a conflict between accessibility and security.

Check out the article and leave a comment below if you have any CPTED-related ideas to add, particularly regarding the door pull issue (we talked about it a while back).

Photo:  Special-Lite FRP pair, posted with permission from Chris Mayer of Mayer Door.

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