Who the Heck is Sep Ted and What Does He Want with My Property? By Kenbob Whiting
What is CPTED (pronounced “SEP TED”)? CPTED is an acronym for Crime Prevention through Environmental Design. This has come from extensive research that has shown that certain architecture deters crime, while other types encourage it. These ideas were at first designed to reduce crime to a property (for instance burglaries and break-ins). It has now been discovered to also help prevent crime from a property (like drug dealing or illegal gang activity). The key lies in creating “natural surveillance” (the ability to look into and out of your property). Crime is much less likely to happen if criminals feel they will be observed. A little accountability is all that we need. (Well… and maybe a lot of money too.) What this entails is quite simple. It could include making your bushes no taller than three feet; trees with branches no lower to Mother Earth than ten to twelve feet. This allows your neighbors and others to help you protect your house from vandals and thieves due to higher visibility. It also helps in the sense that it shows you care about your property and the integrity of the neighborhood. Another form of CPTED is to provide house numbers that are very visible (day and night) from the street. We use a piece of 1×6 or 1×8 scrap wood (cut into a decorative shape) in order to make a
mounting plate painted with an accent color for the numbers (three to four inches tall) to mount on. Police and Fire Departments like them as well as the Postal service and your tenant’s guests. And just how many guests are your tenants having? Hmmm? How about carefully placed motion lights? Not too many though, as that would make it seem that your house is in a high crime area (or a future penitentiary).
We typically install one motion light towards the front of the dwelling and one in a high traffic area near the rear of the house or on the garage. Have you ever noticed in your parks how the wood posts that keep cars off the grass are typically cut at an extreme angle? That is a dual purpose in that rain and snow does not sit on it for very long therefore slowing the rot process. The second reason is so that people do not hang around and sit on the posts waiting for the next deal to go down. Oops, what am I saying?? Ooh!! How about fences? Yes, fences as long as they are low or view through & if tall and wooden that they are not totally solid. The board should be spaced so that the fence is fully covered but with alternate pickets on each side of the braces. This spacing allows for a passerby or neighbor to notice motion but that the nosey neighbors (which are great for crime prevention) cannot scope the party. (This spacing: -_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_versus this spacing: ========.) Sure we can all admit that privacy is desired, but do your tenants need that much? If you have a fence at a rental, then you’ve provided an inconvenience for a yard cutter or burglar. But if that fence is too private, then the potential burglar will not only help themselves to your possessions or those of your tenants, but could also do bodily harm. Also with a visible fence you can perform drive-by inspections without getting outof your vehicle to check on the junk pile that is festering in the yard. Tall and chain link seems to be the better CPTED choice. (A side line tip with “yard cutters” is that we put automotive type grease all over the chain link type fence and on the top of the wooden fence so that the crack headed thieves muck up their fine clothes and the pants that hang at their groin. Ha! It works! We just want a video of the first attempts to cut through. We re-grease about every six months. Now that’s a well done lube job.) You can do a lot with big rocks which provide decoration (if not installed in the tenant’s windshield). Maybe I should say boulders. The boulders are difficult to move but once in place they can identify boundaries, mark the corners of a driveway and eliminate that worn grass spot or mud hole. At any time you have the opportunity to make your homes more visible or function better on the exterior you should do it. How do you first judge people? By first appearances? As with rentals why not by the nice kitchen or woodwork deep inside? We sell them on the wrapping before we sell the product inside. Do the same with your rentals. Sometimes it may seem that the house with all of the vegetation is OK looking because we all want to live in the forest, but the reality of that overgrowth is poor visibility, not to mention poor air circulation around the house. CPTED works very well with the KISS method. Keep It Simple Stupid! We should ALL look forward to reviewing our properties on a regular basis for CPTED issues as well as maintenance. Contact the Police and see if an officer can make a CPTED assessment for you. Most communities have an officer versed in CPTED. In our community the Police will help and assess if asked. It can potentially make their job easier. We have taken CPTED courses that have lasted twelve or more hours. It can be a very detailed subject. . It is a great time of the year to work on trimming trees and bushes as all of their life blood is in the root system. Cut, trim and nip away.