Creating Safe Environments – Integrating Security, Planning and Design Webinar Follow-up

August 5th, 2019
integrating security into community planning

Herb Brychta, PSP, CISSP and Tiffany Haile, AICP, LEED AP BD+C, AE Works Security Risk Manager and Planning + Strategy Manager, respectively, presented a discussion on integrating planning and security for an American Planning Association Webinar.    The questions were great so we wanted to provide the Q&A here.  You can listen to the webinar in entirety here.

Q. Compliance with CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) concepts is generally subjective. Are you aware of good enforceable code requirements?

A. Herb Brychta, PSP, CISSP:  I am not aware of an overarching policy or code that requires use of CPTED strategies. The only specific code that I am aware of is NFPA 3000, which puts in place requirements for responding to active shooter situations.

But there are examples of policy requiring CPTED at federal, state and local levels.    For example, I have seen Federal agency policy directing the use of CPTED in a specific agency’s security program.  And I’ve seen similar application of CPTED at state or federal levels – or local ordinances. Most recently, we’ve seen solicitations from local municipalities that require CPTED as part of the contract.

Q. Do you have any design recommendations for protecting outdoor spaces adjacent to busy streets from vehicle rammings or accidental vehicle encroachments (e.g. on sidewalks/crashing into parks)?

A. Herb Brychta, PSP, CISSP: Absolutely. And great wording on the question!

The likelihood of an unintentional vehicle incident is way higher than a deliberate act.  Keeping people and things like gas meters safe from vehicular accidents is important – and there are a few ways to go about doing that.  A grown tree with an established root system works great for this purpose and has many other positive things going for it such as adding green space in a community.  Since that isn’t always possible, very large concrete planters also work well.  There are a number of rated products available.  Search for “anti-vehicle planter” and you will see a large number of vendor options.  There are also benches that are rated to be crash resistant.  You will need to do some analysis to determine the size and type of rated planter that is appropriate for your situation.  Barring those options, bollards or short concrete walls will also work.

Q. What is “7/3 Rule?” And how does it work?

A. Herb Brychta, PSP, CISSP: Tree branches should not extend below 7 feet when near a structure and bushes should be kept to a maximum of 3 feet high when near a structure or pathway.  This is to prevent sight lines from being obscured and to remove hiding places from a potential attacker.

Q. Since this topic involves life/safety issues, this ultimately will rest on the shoulders on a licensed professional (architect/engineer). How are planners supposed to integrate this topic in their function if they are not licensed to do so?

A. Herb Brychta, PSP, CISSP: Thanks. And agreed, on your points.  Security is best addressed by the use of a credentialed Security Professional.  ASIS International is the international authority for certifying Physical Security Professionals (PSP) and Certified Protection Professionals (CPPⓇ).  By presenting examples where security and planning intersect, we were hoping to make planners aware that security can most benefit projects when thought of at the earliest stages.

Tiffany Haile, AICP: Planners are often called upon to bring various points of view together in evaluating projects on the municipal side, or coordinating multi-disciplinary teams, on the consultant side. In this way, planners have influence in starting the conversation around engaging either a credentialed security professional or an architect/engineer required to take on these considerations under licensure. Starting a meaningful, data-driven conversation around safety and security on projects is a valuable role.

Q. What about public parks and CPTED. How do you incorporate into redesign if the park is in the high crime area?

A. Herb Brychta, PSP, CISSP:   Each project has its own unique requirements.  Overall, you want to get legitimate users into the space.  The more legitimate users you have, the more eyes you have (natural surveillance).  Make it a park that the people in the area will actually use.  Other than that, there is no blanket solution that will work in every instance.  Incorporate CPTED as a design imperative at project inception and get the Police Department or a consultant involved to support development of a comprehensive solution.

Tiffany Haile, AICP: Building on what Herb said, the key to effective, safe parks that serve their intended users lies in the planning and programming of the space itself, i.e. equipment that serves the core neighborhood demographic, but also that activates the space as much as possible and leaves it vacant the least. Beyond that, making sure that parks are planned with houses facing them, versus being in backyards or residual spaces, and ideally with public sidewalks or streets running around them, are basic ways to make a space feel shared, public, and ultimately safe.


Interested in getting regular security risk management updates from AE Works?  Sign up for our email newsletter.