Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Criminal Justice


Gohar A. Petrossian

Committee Members

Brian Lawton

Eric L. Piza

Charles P. Nemeth

Subject Categories

Criminology | Defense and Security Studies | Other Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Place and Environment | Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration | Social Control, Law, Crime, and Deviance | Urban Studies | Urban Studies and Planning


CPTED, Privately Owned Public Spaces, New York City, Hurdle Model


Privately-Owned Public Spaces (POPS) are public recreational areas that are maintained and secured by a private owner. POPS contrast their surrounding environments of public streets in urban city centers, creating distinct social environments that influence pedestrian paths and behavior. This dissertation evaluates POPS and how their physical features influence the occurrence of various street crime types through the lens of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). Empirical evidence supports CPTED as a crime prevention strategy framework, primarily in residential neighborhoods rather than city centers. To quantitatively assess CPTED in an urban context, this study examined 255 outdoor POPS with unrestricted access. ArcGIS was used to map POPS features and layout based on satellite images, Google Street View, and on-site visual audits. This dissertation also introduces the distinction between static and dynamic features to emphasize their theoretical implications over time. While “static” features do not change over time, “dynamic” features do because they are linked to fluctuating user presence. This study also considered formal control mechanisms as a separate CPTED principle to evaluate the role of security measures as part of the CPTED framework. The results demonstrate that the presence of static features, particularly trees and fountains, is linked to fewer crimes. The opposite applies to dynamic features, as their presence appears to promote crime. Formal control methods seem to have a diverting deterrence effect depending on the type of crime, with CCTV cameras appearing to be effective to deter crimes in which a motivated offender seeks an opportunity to offend. Contrarily, CCTV cameras are less effective at deterring crimes in which the offender responds to an opportunity to offend. Urban environments seem to imply a different perception of ownership, which affects the mechanisms of CPTED principles. The social context of CPTED applications is critical to their success. Policy recommendations encourage the consistent involvement of New York City’s Department of City Planning in POPS’ maintenance and campaigns promoting a CPTED-oriented approach to provide useable and safe public spaces.

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