Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design of a Hospital

Subject: Healthcare Research
Pages: 4
Words: 1050
Reading time:
4 min

Crime Prevention through Environmental Design principles focus on the relationship between the physical environment and behavioral tendencies with respect to crime. CPTED principles provide the necessary physical security assessments and professional certifications within the built environment. The principles and coupled to design systems that ensure the physical environment of a building is immunized against criminal behavior. Human behavior is therefore linked to the design and managerial characteristics of a physical environment with the goal of improving the safety of occupants. The underlying objective is meant to encourage positive behavior among the occupants towards the safety of the community and reduce potential threats to security. The CPTED principles are therefore applied during the planning and design of a building. CPTED uses five strategies in analyzing the relationship between criminal activity and the physical design of a building; access control, surveillance, territoriality, activity support, and motivation reinforcement. The principles, therefore, emphasize the relationship between attitudes and features of a building in relation to criminal behavior.

The underlying concept is based on the understanding that the physical design of a building could result in a possessive attitude by occupants and users through a perspective of ownership. Persons with a criminal mind can therefore be discouraged from engaging in criminal behavior due to the perceived risk of being apprehended in an environment that is both alert and sensitive to its physical security. A hospital is a busy environment with workers engaged in their tasks of treating patients. The environment is equally tense due to the prevailing situation characterized by sophisticated facilities and patients in need of close attention. Access control is therefore directed in reducing the likelihood of criminal activity occurring.

Unauthorized persons must be prohibited from gaining access to sensitive places such as the intensive care unit and theatre rooms. These facilities should therefore be locked with entrance keys in the hands of professional medical personnel only. Hospital tours to patients under medication should only be allowed within strict time frames through limited doors.

Security guards should play a major role in screening the visitors in order to prevent unnecessary congestion at entrances in addition to criminals disguising as relatives to the sick. Criminals can also be discouraged through the creation of psychological barriers such as Red Cross signs, ambulance sirens, and alarm systems used in case of medical emergencies.

In addition, hedges and fences can be used in reducing access to prohibited regions within the hospital for purposes of medical integrity and uniqueness such as the mortuary. Proper lighting and ventilation should also be used in order to increase the transparency of the hospital under all circumstances. This also makes the hospital unattractive to criminals because it appears complicated to stage an attack. Bright light is actually an effective deterrent to criminals since it increases user-familiarity with the hospital environment. Foreigners to designated areas are therefore easily noticed thereby restricting their mobility and egress within the hospital. Access control, therefore, outlines the borders within which hospital staff and outsiders could transit within its environment.


Everyone within the hospital should also be kept under observation in order to prevent strangers from misbehaving and criminals from staging an attack. Police and guard surveillance is most appropriate within a hospital in addition to the general user awareness of irresponsible behavior. CCTV surveillance is also useful in monitoring social interactions and movements within the hospital with the objective of identifying suspect gatherings and activities. Observers could therefore be designated in strategic locations for natural surveillance through physical designs that incorporate channeling of people to regions occupied by them. Increased permeability through corridors coupled to glass-enclosed staircases also promotes natural surveillance.


The entire community within the hospital requires an identity and image that reinforces their bonding through social cohesion and security. Territorial concerns can be established around social events such as blood donations, free eye checks ups and HIV/AIDS counseling. The community, therefore, develops an identity with the hospital as a social facility that attends to not only health but also daily challenges within its environment.

Hospital management and staff should therefore organize regular community-based health initiatives such as voluntary counseling and testing in learning institutions combined with sports and drama. These activities serve to enhance social bonds among people which promote ideals and values that are socially acceptable. Criminals are therefore dissuaded from deviant behavior since the culture within the society and the neighborhood of the hospital is reinforced towards moral and ethical behavior.

Activity Support

It is important that activities of strategic importance to the hospital are carried out within an environment that allows for close supervision. Activities should therefore be channeled to designated regions to allow for maximum professional output and surveillance. This includes setting restricted locations within the hospital environment for laboratory analysis, pharmacy, research, surgery, and mortuary in addition to medical and dental consultancy. Unnecessary roaming within prohibited stations can therefore be prohibited based on the professional guidelines on the conduct of hospital personnel and persons within the hospital by management and security portfolios. Visitors should only be allowed to access areas that are determined by the security badges given to them at the point of entry.

Motivation Reinforcement

The entire community around the hospital should be encouraged to adopt ideas and values that promote healthcare and the security of their neighborhood. Proper hygiene, environmental sanitation, the social campaign against substance abuse, and holistic education should be incorporated as reinforcement to physical security. The community should be motivated towards a common identity and image that provides the requisite social bond against deviant practices. Borders to social and health facilities should be determined and the physical space around hospitals restricted from conflicting activities through natural surveillance and user consciousness to security. The hospital management should also liaise with security stakeholders such as the police in developing protocols that address emerging potential threats and risks to the facility. Both internal and external security mechanisms should be integrated to ensure hospital tours, check-ins, technologies, and users are conscious of the prevailing risks and threats within the hospital environment.