School Safety & Security

Buildings will use an approach architects call “Crime Prevention through Environmental Design,” or CPTED, a set of design strategies that has been shown to improve safety.

Natural Surveillance
“See and be seen” is the overall goal when it comes to natural surveillance. A person is less likely to commit a crime if he or she thinks someone will witness it. Lighting and landscape play an important role in defining and revealing school activities and safety for the school site. This CPTED strategy must also be applied throughout the interior school spaces. Corridors should be straight and minimized in length to provide clear lines of sight and no places to hide. Adults in administrative roles or support services should be placed throughout the building in small groupings, to allow for oversight of more spaces during class time when teachers are in their classrooms. Glass should be used abundantly and spaces should be arranged strategically to ensure that all areas are observable while unoccupied or between classes.

Natural Access Control
Much more than providing imposing, physical barriers, this strategy uses walkways, fences, lighting, signage and landscape to clearly guide people and vehicles to and from the proper entrances. The goal is not necessarily to keep people out, but to direct the flow of people while decreasing the opportunity for crime. Limited access to secure areas such as courtyards or outdoor teaching areas should also be considered through natural deterrents.

Territorial Reinforcement
Physical designs such as pavement treatments, landscaping and signage give users of an area the opportunity to develop a sense of ownership over it. Public areas should be clearly distinguished from private ones. Classrooms should be grouped to create interior zones. Students can then develop a sense of ownership of their designated cluster area, and adults can expand their zone of effective supervision by creating perceived outer boundaries or thresholds. Those who are not regular “members” of a cluster recognize those boundaries and are deterred from entering or engaging in them inappropriately.