My name is Randy Atlas, the author and editor of this book. I am both an architect and a criminologist.
This does not make me a “criminal architect,” but rather an architect with a different point of view.
Using the reasoning skills I was taught as a criminologist, combined with the creative reasoning
and design skills of an architect, I understand the value of problem seeking before problem solving.
The current tendency is to throw money shamelessly at security equipment as a problem-solving
measure, hoping that the problem will go away. The real solutions will evolve from thorough under-
standing of the problems. How often has our built environment contributed to the attraction of
criminal or terrorist activity? This book is intended to be the follow-up of previous books on crime
prevention through environmental design (CPTED), defensible space, design out crime, and build-
ing security. It is especially oriented to students of architecture, design, urban planning, security,
public administration, and criminal justice.
The number one criticism I hear when I conduct CPTED trainings around the United States is
“why don’t the architects know about CPTED and how to design secure buildings?” The answer is
quite straightforward. Most architects are unfamiliar with CPTED and security design because they
were never taught CPTED in their college educations. It is not something that usually comes up in
continuing education. While CPTED is based on common sense, the specic skills are something
that most architects are just not made aware of or taught. Criminal justice and security students have
read about it, but most likely have not taken a course to learn it. Most of the practitioners of CPTED
are police ofcers. They are aware of CPTED, and most law enforcement agencies have crime
prevention units. CPTED is mentioned in most basic law enforcement training classes. However,
having police trained in CPTED is not enough to have the built environment changed.
I have been known in the conference circuit as the voice of cynicism and sarcasm. This is because
I do not believe that the direction and efforts of the Department of Homeland Security and local
law enforcement have been properly focused on the real threats and risks. Most of the information
presented to the architectural and engineering community after 9/11 has been about progressive
structural failure collapse, ying glass, and 100 ft building setbacks. These are legitimate consid-
erations when you are designing an embassy, but do not really apply to a strip shopping center, a
middle school, or an apartment complex.
As a result, architects dismiss the value of designing security into the architecture and infra-
structure because it does not relate to them. In fact, at an American Institute of Architects
(AIA)-sponsored workshop in Albuquerque in 2002 on homeland security, I spoke to a room of
500architects and asked how many of them were actually designing high-security buildings that
might use the information that was presented. About a half-dozen raised their hands, and they were
mostly from rms around the loop of Washington, District of Columbia, who are wired for embas-
sies or high-security military applications. The other 99% of the architects raised their hands when
I asked if they were designing schools, multifamily residential housing, hospitals, or retail and
shopping facilities. Very few architectural rms will ever have the opportunity to design a State
Department building or maximum-security prison.
The focus of most funding by the Department of Homeland Security is the protection of our
infrastructure using security technology, such as CCTV, access control systems, perimeter pro-
tection fencing, and/or technology that can smell weapons/bombs or identify terrorists by facial
features. One government publication suggested that the primary security aspect of designing safe
schools was placing cameras throughout the schools and grounds. CCTV does not prevent any
crime or acts of terror in a school. In fact, it is well known that the kids will act out in front of the
cameras just to get a rise out of the teachers. Can we not see that homeland security is about crime