Natural Surveillance: What Does It Mean and How to Improve It

At Warrior Doors we always endorse natural surveillance for communal buildings, but what is natural surveillance? Secured by design, Commercial Developments, Version 2, 2015, published by Secured by Design, suggests that natural surveillance is: ‘An architectural design that limits the opportunity for crime by enhancing the chance that a potential offender might be or will be seen’.

To put that simply, reducing the blind spots in and around your premises helps to reduce anti-social behaviour (ASB). Multiple studies have found that increased natural surveillance directly correlates with decreased crime rates.

illustration of natural surveillance

Blind Spots

The first thing that you need to look at in regards to natural surveillance is where the blind points in your building are. Blind spots are areas that are not in the line of sight of a window. In most cases, these areas are alleyways to the sides of the building, cycle store rooms & car parking areas. 

Anti-Social behaviour is significantly more likely to occur in blind spots. They also invite repeat ASB as when someone knows they can get away with something in a certain place they are more likely to return, especially in regards to illegal drug use/dealing.

Improving Natural Surveillance

There are a few ways to increase natural surveillance on your premises. The most significant being glazing. Windows and glazed doors not only prevent ASB but allow tenants of the building to feel safer especially when entering a cycle store or a parking garage. 

We have seen cases where a tenant has entered a cycle store to collect their bike and were met with loiterers using the space for shelter. This puts the tenant at risk in the moment but also instils fear into them about using and entering the room. Having glazing would reduce the likelihood of loiterers entering the room but also allows tenants to see if someone is in there so they can avoid a potentially harmful confrontation. 

Another method of natural surveillance is landscaping. Ensuring that the views from the windows of your building are not obstructed by large bushes or trees.

Warrior Bike Store Door with fully glazed top vision panel and stainless-steel anti-scuff bottom panel

Click here to view our range of glazed products for communal buildings. Alternatively, contact our team by calling 0121 706 8400 or emailing [email protected]

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