Research how Tacoma, WA used the concepts of CPTED (discuss…

Research how Tacoma, WA used the concepts of CPTED (discussed in more detail in 10.3) to build a sense of community using lighting, natural access control and natural surveillance. Determine if these factors could work in your area. See: Purchase the answer to view it


Title: Analysis of Tacoma, WA’s Application of CPTED Concepts in Building Community and its Translatability to Other Areas

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is a multidisciplinary approach that aims to reduce crime and enhance community safety by designing and managing the physical environment. This approach emphasizes the importance of using lighting, natural access control, and natural surveillance to create a sense of community and deter criminal activities. This research paper examines how the city of Tacoma, WA has applied CPTED principles to build a sense of community and analyzes the feasibility of implementing these factors in other areas.

One of the primary elements of CPTED is lighting, which plays a crucial role in deterring criminal activities and promoting community cohesion. Tacoma, like many other cities, has strategically implemented lighting systems to enhance both safety and aesthetics. By illuminating public spaces such as parks, transit stops, and walkways, Tacoma has successfully created well-lit environments that discourage criminal behavior and improve citizens’ perceptions of safety.

Through increased lighting, Tacoma has effectively transformed previously underutilized areas into vibrant public spaces that attract community members, fostering social cohesion and promoting a sense of belonging. These well-lit areas create opportunities for informal social control, encouraging residents to take ownership of their surroundings, and thus, reducing the likelihood of criminal activities.

Natural Access Control:
Tacoma has also utilized the concept of natural access control to build a sense of community. Natural access control involves designing the physical environment in a way that guides and directs people’s movements, steering them towards desired pathways and limiting access to restricted areas. By employing strategies such as installing fences, hedges, and signage to clearly designate public and private spaces, Tacoma has enhanced the perception of territoriality and increased control over access points.

The implementation of natural access control in Tacoma has shown promising results in fostering community engagement and preventing criminal activities. By clearly defining and controlling access points, residents and visitors feel a heightened sense of security, leading to increased social interactions and community participation. This sense of ownership and belonging motivates individuals to actively look out for one another and their environment, further reducing the prevalence of crime.

Natural Surveillance:
Another significant element of CPTED is natural surveillance, which involves designing the physical environment in a way that maximizes visibility and encourages people to watch over public spaces. Tacoma has successfully integrated natural surveillance measures by employing strategies such as removing obstructions, increasing sight lines, and promoting active use of public spaces.

Through the strategic placement of trees, shrubs, and other landscape features, Tacoma has created environments that allow for natural surveillance while preserving aesthetics. This approach enhances the possibility of community members observing and reporting suspicious activities, thereby deterring criminals and fostering a sense of community responsibility.

Feasibility of Translating CPTED Principles:

The success of Tacoma’s application of CPTED principles in building community and reducing crime suggests that these strategies could be employed in other areas. However, the effectiveness of implementing CPTED concepts is contingent on various factors, including community engagement, local context, and resource availability.


The case of Tacoma, WA demonstrates the potential benefits of implementing CPTED principles to build a sense of community, enhance safety, and reduce crime. By employing lighting, natural access control, and natural surveillance strategies, Tacoma has successfully transformed its physical environment, fostering social connections, and empowering community members. While the transferability of these principles should be evaluated within the specific context of each area, the underlying concepts of CPTED offer valuable insights for promoting community cohesion and safety.

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