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Building the Perfect School

NCJ Number
Campus Safety Journal Volume: 10 Issue: 12 Dated: December 2002 Pages: 16-19,42
Randy Atlas
Date Published
December 2002
5 pages
This article discusses campus design and its impact on school security.
The premise of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is that effective use and design of the built environment can mean a reduction in the opportunity for and fear of crime, and an improvement in the quality of life. Nearly half of all schools had at least one serious crime in the 1996-1997 school year, and 10 percent had at least one violent crime occur within the school property. CPTED is a concept that may be used to improve the productive use of space. Architectural features and structural enhancements and spatial definition can deter, detect, and delay potential violent offenders from entering school campuses and buildings. Safe school design involves four key areas that should include security layering/defensive space planning practices: site design, building design, interior spaces, and systems and equipment. Some elements to consider when constructing new or remodeling campus buildings include the affordability of security programs and features; the definition of assets worthy of being protected; and the definition of threats of what is vulnerable to attack and loss. Many techniques and devices can be used to increase security at the main entry into the school, including avoiding blind spots and defining formal gathering places. Walls should not be placed in a way that will provide hiding areas. Cameras should be low profile or hidden from view. Management plays a key role in CPTED. It is the designer’s responsibility to ensure that an area or space can be properly and sensibly managed. One way for the effective management and integration of security into school design is the Codification for Safe Schools. Incorporating the principles and practices of CPTED into the design and remodeling of schools can contribute to their safety.


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