In contrast to the approach of addressing crime concerns by implementing visually affronting security or target hardening measures such as locks, hard barriers, security gates, security patrols, etc., CPTED promotes quality and visually pleasing solutions that aim to enhance the legitimate use of space.
CPTED can be applied without interfering with the normal use of the space. It is easy to apply and can be economical to implement, especially if it is done early at the planning and design stages of a project.


1. Natural Surveillance
2. Natural Access Control
3. Territorial Reinforcement
4. Maintenance and Management
5. Social Management


CPTED is an internationally recognized tool to help promote growth in communities and encourage safe activities throughout. When implemented CPTED will increase revenue, help you take ownership of your property, deter criminal activity, reduce the fear of crime, and increase the perception of safety.


Rebates and Incentives are also available when improvements include energy savings, facade improvements, or historic preservation.

Avista rebates Historic facade improvement BID CPTED Rebate

"The CPTED rebate program was very beneficial in helping DH to clean up and provide a safer environment for our employees and our clients. We love have our offices in the heart of downtown, but recently we had to deal with challenges related to illegal activity and vandalism. Through the CPTED rebate program we were able to offset some of our costs to clean up and remove an alcove that made our entrance unusable for our business. Today, the front door to our offices is back at street level making it convenient and visible for our clients and guests."

~Christine Varela | Partner, DH

Apply for a CPTED Rebate

Why should CPTED be applied at your property?

While the City, the Police Department, and the DSP coordinate programs and activities to directly address the drivers of urban criminality, property owners should be actively involved in working to resolve these problems as well. CPTED provides simple, cost-effective investments that are proven to be effective in lowering crime.

The Ratepayer’s Advisory Board of the Business Improvement District has recognized the value of CPTED by allowing property owners and managers to leverage funds that would otherwise be paid to the BID in the annual assessment. This is being done as a pilot project to determine the level of impact and assessed value for properties and downtown generally. As a result, the ability to leverage owner investment money with BID dollars may only last for a short period of time.

How does the Business Improvement District CPTED rebate work?

  1. The Committee has determined that in order to be most effective in reducing negative activity in the Downtown BID, the initial focus of this grant will be applied toward properties within or adjacent to areas of elevated criminal or nuisance activity as identified in partnership with – and by using – Spokane Police crime statistics.
  2. Property owners, managers, or approved tenants will contact the Security Ambassadors to coordinate a time for a CPTED assessment. Once the assessment is complete, building owners or managers will then decide what improvements to make and gather estimate(s) for completion of the work.
  3. When a final concept for CPTED improvement is selected for the property, the application for the CPTED grant will then be filled out and sent in by the owner or manager to DSP staff. Pending a review by DSP staff who may request clarifications or changes, the application will then be forwarded to the Ratepayer’s Advisory Board CPTED Committee who will review and select projects for reimbursement.
  4. DSP staff will notify awardees and they will then proceed with implementing the work plan.
  5. The property owner or manager will notify DSP staff of completion of the work, and project work will be validated by DSP Security Ambassadors.
  6. In the following year, BID assessments will be reduced by the amount of the agreed upon grant fund amount, with a maximum match of $2,500.

Applications for a 2024 assessment rebate will be accepted through September 30, each year, or until the fund is depleted. Applicants must be a current BID Ratepayer in good standing and must have completed all rebate requirements by October 31 to qualify for the upcoming assessment year. 

Schedule an Assessment

CPTED at Work

ABM Parking District Manager Mike Hamilton informed downtown staff that ABM had implemented CPTED principals by replacing lighting in a widely used parking lot in the downtown core. By the end of February, parkers will have better visibility in the lot located between Washington and Stevens at Spokane Falls Blvd. Thank you to ABM for taking swift action to brighten up this lot!

Spokane Public Schools, in their continued efforts to reduce energy consumption and improve downtown lighting quality and safety, upgraded the lighting at the parking lot located at the corner of W Main St and N Bernard St.


There are strong overlaps and synergies among the four CPTED principles. These have been identified separately for convenience and clarity of understanding. In practice, it may be useful to see all four principles as different facets of a single technique for dealing with the security of the physical environment. In respect to the first two principles, the term ‘natural’ refers to deriving surveillance and access control results as a by-product of normal and routine use of the environment.


The fundamental premise is that criminals do not wish to be observed. Surveillance or the placing of legitimate ‘eyes on the street’ increases the perceived risk to offenders. This may also increase the actual risk to offenders if those observing are willing to act when potentially threatening situations develop. So, the primary aim of surveillance is not to keep intruders out (although it may have that effect) but rather, to keep intruders under observation.

Natural surveillance can be achieved by a number of techniques. The flow of activities can be channeled to put more people (observers) near a potential crime area. Windows, lighting and the removal of obstructions can be placed to improve sight lines from within buildings.


Natural access control relies on doors, fences, shrubs, and other physical elements to keep unauthorized persons out of a particular place if they do not have a legitimate reason for being there. In its most elementary form, access control can be achieved in individual dwellings or commercial establishments by the use of adequate locks, doors and window barriers.

However, when one moves beyond private property to public or semi-public spaces, the application of access control needs more care. Properly located entrances, exits, fencing, landscaping and lighting can subtly direct both foot and vehicular traffic in ways that decreases criminal opportunities. Access control can be as simple as locating a front office to a warehouse.

While access control is more difficult on streets and areas that are entirely open to public use, there are other techniques for controlling access in these circumstances. For example, nonphysical or ‘psychological’ barriers can be used to achieve the objective of access control. These barriers may appear in the form of signs, paving textures, nature strips or anything that announces the integrity and uniqueness of an area. The idea behind a psychological barrier is that if a target seems strange, or difficult, it may also be unattractive to potential criminals.

Because any strategy that fosters access control is also likely to impede movement, careful consideration should be given to access control strategies. Such strategies may limit the opportunity for crimes but should not hinder the mobility of potential victims.


People naturally protect a territory that they feel is their own and have a certain respect for the territory of others. Clear boundaries between public and private areas achieved by using physical elements such as fences, pavement treatment, art, signs, good maintenance and landscaping are ways to express ownership. Identifying intruders is much easier in such well-defined spaces.

Territorial reinforcement can be seen to work when a space, by its clear legibility, transparency, and directness, discourages potential offenders because of users’ familiarity with each other and the surroundings.


This is related to the neighborhood’s sense of ‘Pride of Place’ and territorial reinforcement. The more dilapidated an area, the more likely it is to attract unwanted activities. The maintenance and the ‘image’ of an area can have a major impact on whether it will become targeted.

Another extension of the concept is that territorial concern, social cohesion and a general sense of security can be reinforced through the development of the identity and image of a community. This approach can improve not only the image of the population has of itself, and its domain, but also the projection of that image to others.

With clear spatial definitions such as the subdivision of space into different degrees of public/ semi-public/ private areas and the raising of standards and expectations, the level of social estrangement would decline. This is known to be related to reduction in opportunities for aberrant or criminal behavior, such as vandalism.

Maintenance and management need to be considered at the design stage, as the selection of materials and finishes will impact on the types of maintenance regimes that can be sustained over time. For example, plant material should be selected for its size at maturity to avoid blocking of sight lines.


The final principle of CPTED looks beyond physical design and focuses on the human part of your environment. People are your greatest asset. The involvement and support of clients, customers, employees, and any who use or have connections to a place are essential to developing and maintaining safe spaces.

Creative and positive social interactions through public art installations, engaging customer service, team building activities, and connections to civic events bring people together while discouraging potential criminal activity.