3 Ways to Apply CPTED to Your Kids!

What if you could adapt a well-known security principle to keep the house clean? Could that really work and if so, would it be effective with teenagers in the house? The answer… yes! In fact, the security principle that we’re talking about can be easily adapted to benefit many aspects of your daily life including stressful factors involved with raising your kids.

What security principle are we referring to? We are referring to CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design). CPTED is an outline for manipulating the built environment to create safer neighbourhoods. CPTED principles include Natural Surveillance. Natural Access Control and Territorial Reinforcement & Maintenance. The CPTED principles are commonly referred to and used by Security Risk Consultants around the globe to improve security standards for new, renovated, and pre-existing buildings. While CPTED principles are commonly used to improve security standards, they can also be adapted to everyday situations such as keeping the house tidy.

But how can CPTED be adapted to my kids?

  1. Keeping the house tidy! 

Think back to the last time that your house was spotless. Having a clean house not only makes you feel good, but it makes having visitors a much nicer experience. Having a clean house means that you don’t need to apologise to your visitors for the mess or quickly run around the house doing the last-minute clean.

Now take a moment and ask yourself how your house typically becomes a mess. Is it because you’re overworked, stressed, or can’t be bothered? Alternatively does the mess simply come from your kids getting home from school only to spread their clothes, left-over dishes, and personal items all over the place?

Well if it’s the kids then CPTED may be your saviour to maintaining a tidy house!

One of the major principles of CPTED is Maintenance. Security Consultants often inform clients that the key to dealing with graffiti on their property is to remove the graffiti immediately. Keeping a property graffiti-free has an enormous psychological effect on vandalism as many would feel too intimidated to be the first vandals of your property.

Maintenance can be adapted to everyday living by keeping the house as clean as possible on your behalf. This may sound a little confusing since the kids are the messy ones, but psychologically if you make sure to put every dish of yours away, all of your clothing away and clean up after yourself in the house, your teenagers will not be subconsciously encouraged to add to the mess. Let us summarise this tip by saying that it’s a lot easier to add to a mess than it is to begin one. With that said, maintenance may be thrown out the window if you have toddlers!

  1. Preventing Mischievous Behaviour!

Another major CPTED principle that many Security Consultants dwell upon is Natural Surveillance. Security Consultants will generally advise clients to be aware of structural designs that cause observation hindrance. Typically speaking, it’s safer to be able to observe and analyse your surroundings rather than having an obstructed vision. In a real-life crime scenario, the public are generally safer if they are able to see any potential threats in front of them. Natural Surveillance allows people to analyse and avoid threats.

Fortunately, Natural Surveillance can be adapted to preventing mischievous behaviour from your kids. We’ve all heard and may even remember horror stories of our behaviour growing up. It may have been defying your parents, causing a ruckus, or even participating in disruptive or frankly annoying activities that resulted in damage to the house or an object. The point is that it’s quite normal and expected that toddlers and young children are wired to be mischievous sometimes.

Natural surveillance can be adapted by any parents wanting to prevent mischievous behaviour. By implementing Natural Surveillance, you are allowing yourself to see and prevent any unwanted behaviour. Making the decision to sit outside while your kids are playing ball rather than sitting inside watching Netflix may be the difference between having a broken window in the house or not. Implementing Natural Surveillance isn’t rocket science, but it is in fact CPTED!

  1. Controlling Screen Time 

Natural Access Control in security terms means limiting the opportunity for crime by taking steps to clearly differentiate public space from private. Simple steps such as building a fence around your property is an effective way of telling the public where they can and cannot access. This small physical barrier is a quick and easy solution to discourage trespassing as a fence clearly marks and mitigates accidental access.

When it comes to maintaining a schedule with your kids you might come to realise that we live in the 21st century and screen time has become the enemy of many parents wanting to limit the amount of time that their kids spend inside. Luckily for us parents, Natural Access Control is another minor yet effective CPTED principle that can be adapted to your tools as a parent.

Let’s tackle limiting screen time. How can you limit or control your children’s screen time if they are surrounded by phones, televisions, and computers? Using Natural Access Control could be the key to overcoming screen time. If you have a spare bedroom or area in the house that is not being used, all you need to do is relocate the television to that area and close the door. This psychologically tells the kids that there may be a good reason for the door being closed. It may not work all of the time, but it gets your kid’s thinking why the door is closed. If you do not have a spare room, you could simply hide the remote which will drive your kids to have to ask you for the remote or access to the television. Implementing Natural Access Control in your home is much more effective than stopping them during the act.

So, there we have it. The 3 ways to apply CPTED to your kids. If you have any CPTED adaptions of your own, we would love to hear them!

Ben Connley-Walker

Author: Ben Connley-Walker

Ben joined Connley-Walker Pty Ltd in 2019 as a Registered Security Consultant. Currently studying a Bachelor of Science (Security) at Edith Cowan University, Ben also manages marketing initiatives and focuses on security & risk management.