Integrating Safety & Security Into Every Design

Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates (CRA Architects) has had a focus on integrating safety and security into the design of all building types since the firm’s founding in 1984.  The firm has significant experience in the design of public facilities such as schools, courthouses and correctional facilities and private facilities such as corporate headquarters, technology centers and mission critical.  These project types create a need for a specific unique approach to safety and security.  As security threats change over time, our staff needs to stay abreast of modifications in building design to mitigate these threats.

The firm recently sent Mr. Joshua Bower, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, GGP, Principal and Director of Architecture in Virginia and Mr. Todd Vukmanic, Senior Project Manager to a Crime Prevention Though Environmental Design (CPTED) training session in Greenville, South Carolina. The week-long event was hosted by National Institute of Crime Prevention (NICP) and took place over 40 hours during the week of May 19th-24th, 2019.  Upon successful completion of this course, attendees will receive credentials as a “Certified Protection Designer (CPD)”.  Todd and Josh will join Jeff Straub, AIA, ALEP. LEED AP BD+C, CPD as Certified Protection Designers.

Crime Prevention Though Environmental Design, is a methodology that was developed in the 1970’s, which seeks to decrease criminal activity through urban and environmental design.  According to Vukmanic, “CPTED is a holistic design approach to safety and security that focuses on defining space and the physical environment to minimize the opportunity for negative activity.  These design areas include proper site design and landscaping, as well as lighting, color and graphics, in addition to the physical structure and design of a building.  Safety and Security design goes beyond simple brick and mortar building envelope, and instead favors comprehensive building organization and environmental interrelation to deter security threats.”

Training itself consisted of a variety of hands-on activities interspaced with lectures and dialogue delineating the various CPTED principles and philosophies. The class included a diverse group, involving not only design professionals, but also police officers and school officials as well. Challenging coursework such as on-site and facility analyses of existing buildings forced small groups to work together and look beyond their defined professional roles to create a detailed solution to the problem. The course was capped with a written exam and a group presentation summarizing a full CPTED review of an actual facility.  This presentation necessitated that groups utilize CPTED principles when reviewing the facility.  Initial crime statistics and demographics were researched for the specific building location.  On-site evaluations included analysis of the neighborhood, site/ landscaping, building approach, wayfinding and visibility, and defined boundaries.  The review also included actual facility evaluations, which reviewed building entryways and secured access points, sight lines and observation, room layout and areas of delay and layering, as well as end-user activities.

“Perhaps what is most important to me,” according to Todd, “is this training forced me to view not only the building and physical design, but also how it fits into the neighborhood and surroundings, and how it works as a whole to promote safety and reduce negative activity.”

Recent Virginia Legislation, House Bill 1738 has mandated that as of July 1st, 2019 that all educational designs in Virginia will be required to be reviewed by a Certified Protection Designer who is also a registered architect.

 “As one of the leaders in Educational Design in Virginia, it is essential that our schools are designed to safeguard our most vulnerable from both inside and outside threats.  The Commonwealth of Virginia places school safety as a foundation of educational design with the requirement of a CPD professional to review the public school design prior to submission to the Superintendent of Public Instruction.”



Both Todd and Josh return to Greenville, October 7th through 9th to finish the second portion of their advanced training needed to receive their full CPTED certification.

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