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Florida Statute 768.0706: A Guide to Compliance for Multifamily Properties - Part 3

CPTED Assessment and Florida Statute 768.0706(2)(b)

By the time the crime prevention through environmental design assessment (CPTED) assessment is scheduled, the owner/management company should have completed a preliminary assessment to determine if the property is compliant with most provisions required by Fla. Stat. § 768.0706(2)(a).

As discussed in Part 2 of this guide, there are several requirements that employees may not be able to properly assess related to CCTV camera coverage and illumination. However, the property owner should be aware of the property’s status regarding all other matters in Section A and ideally completed any necessary improvements before initiating the documented CPTED assessment.

What is CPTED?

What is   Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)?

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is a crime prevention doctrine that uses architectural and natural design measures to reduce opportunity for crime and offender confidence, while simultaneously reinforcing a sense of community among inhabitants and reducing fear of victimization.

CPTED focuses on four key principles:

Natural SurveillanceMeasures employed to maximize the visibility of persons and encourage positive social interaction.

Natural Access ControlMeasures employed to attract, channel, or restrict the movement of people, and in turn, minimize opportunities for crime.

Territorial ReinforcementMeasures employed to define public, semi‐public and private spaces and engender a sense of shared ownership of community space.

MaintenanceMeasure employed to reduce the appearance of social disorder and enhance a sense of community pride and ownership.

In addition to the four CPTED principles, additional issues encompassed during CPTED assessments include traffic calming, “connectability,” positive and negative activity generators, and social management measures.

See the dropdown titled “Daytime CPTED Assessment” for some practical examples of how these principles apply in multifamily properties.

The CPTED Assessment Process and Fla. Stat. § 768.0706(2)(b)

The following section describes the approach used by Critical Intervention Services for conducting CPTED assessments and verification of compliance with Florida Statute 768.0706(2)(a). Although all Florida CPTED Practitioners should conduct assessments according to guidelines established by the Florida Crime Prevention Training Institute (FCPTI), assessment methodology, detail, and foresight regarding liability implications often varies among practitioners.

Once the CPTED assessment is scheduled, our Florida CPTED Practitioner will retrieve and evaluate crime data for the property and surrounding area to identify any problems for special focus, “hotspots” (problematic areas nearby), and trends over the past five years that may indicate a momentum of improvement or deterioration in the crime situation.  If the property’s boundaries are unclear, a property appraiser’s map is also obtained to assist in pinpointing all relevant “points of entry and exit” as related to Fla. Stat. § 768.0706(2)(a)(1).

On the day of the on-site assessment, we prefer to begin by meeting with the property manager to review details about the property, community characteristics, historical problems, management practices, and details about the property’s infrastructure (e.g., access control system, CCTV system, etc.). This meeting is then typically followed by a short tour of the property to identify all possible “points of entry and exit” and inspection of several residential units for compliance with conditions stated in Fla. Stat. § 768.0706(2)(a). After all “points of entry and exit” have been confirmed, an inspection is conducted of the CCTV system for compliance with Fla. Stat. § 768.0706(2)(a)(1).

After all activities with the manager are concluded, a daytime inspection of the property is conducted to evaluate CPTED conditions and compliance with other requirements defined in Fla. Stat. § 768.0706(2)(a). During the daytime assessment, our Florida CPTED Practitioners primarily focus on landscaping, building design, signage, and maintenance conditions. See the dropdown below for more details.

Daytime CPTED Assessment

Daytime CPTED Assessment  & Multifamily Properties

Following are some of the issues of focus during our daytime CPTED assessments.

“Natural Surveillance”
Trees and shrubbery are inspected using FCPTI’s “2-foot/6-foot” and “30-foot sightline” rules to ensure that residents and visitors have clear visibility of possible offenders while walking the property, windows are unobstructed, and there are minimal opportunities for offender concealment.

Following are examples of problematic conditions that would be noted in our CPTED assessment report.

In addition to landscaping, buildings and outdoor structures (e.g., trash dumpster areas, car washes, etc.) are inspected to identify possible offender concealment opportunities. Following are examples of locations that may benefit from corner mirrors, removal of obstructive boards, or increased illumination to improve visibility and reduce criminal confidence.

The location and design of playgrounds, benches, pavilions, dog parks, and similar locations are also evaluated to determine their benefit as “focal points” and “positive activity generators,” thus providing opportunity for observation of criminal activity.

 “Natural Access Control”
Site design and the use of environmental terrain features (e.g., landscaping, water retention ponds, etc.) are evaluated to determine their benefit in channeling entry to designated entrances and discouraging trespass. “Mechanical access controls” (e.g., fencing, walls, gates, access control hardware, etc.) are also assessed to determine their effectiveness.

“Territorial Reinforcement”
The entrance to the property is inspected to determine its effectiveness as a “celebrated entryway” and how well it effectively establishes a sense of community ownership.

Signage is another issue of focus during the daytime assessment. The presence of identifying signage at entrances, private property signs, and signage warning against trespass all contribute to territorial reinforcement.

Use of “transition zones” between public and private space are also assessed to evaluate their contribution to defining the property boundaries and discouraging trespass.

During the daytime CPTED assessment, our Florida CPTED Practitioner also focuses on maintenance issues that contribute to a disordered environmental appearance. This includes conditions such as broken and bent fencing, building decay, faded signs and faded paint, and ground litter.

Once nightfall arrives, the assessment continues with an inspection of lighting and illumination conditions.

To verify compliance with Fla. Stat. § 768.0706(2)(a)(2), our Florida CPTED Practitioner measures illumination levels in each parking space at 18-inches from the surface using a NIST-calibrated light meter. The measurements recorded during this stage of the lighting assessment are then output as a spreadsheet and used to calculate the average illumination level.

The second stage of the lighting assessment continues with focus on sidewalks, building entrances, breezeways, mailboxes, and outdoor activity areas. Illumination levels during this stage of the assessment are measured according to guidelines established by the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) and recorded. During this activity, our Florida CPTED Practitioner also verifies the presence of lighting in walkways, laundry rooms, common areas, and “porches” as required by Fla. Stat. § 768.0706(2)(a)(3).

Throughout the both stages of the lighting assessment, our Florida CPTED Practitioner also observes for problems regarding lights obstructed by trees, high contrast ratio, glare, light trespass, and maintenance issues such as degraded and burned out lights. See the dropdown below for examples.

Examples of Lighting Problems

Examples of CPTED & Fla. Stat. § 768.0706 Lighting Problems

Inadequate Illumination

Light Obstructions


After the assessment is completed, our Florida CPTED Practitioner prepares a written report of findings detailing our observations about Fla. Stat. § 768.0706(2)(a) and CPTED conditions, proposed measures for improvement, and detailed appendixes including photos, diagrams, lighting maps, spreadsheets, description of our methodology, and standards/guidelines used as the basis for our observations.

Legal Defensibility and CPTED Assessments for Compliance with Fla. Stat. § 768.0706(2)(b)

It should be expected that determined plaintiff attorneys will attempt to undermine the liability protections of Fla. Stat. § 768.0706 by claiming that the defendant’s property was non-compliant with the statute. And one possible approach for establishing an argument for non-compliance is discrediting the assessment performed by the Florida CPTED Practitioner and methods used for verifying compliance with Fla. Stat. § 768.0706(2)(a).

As a starting point, property owners should ensure that the consultant hired for this purpose possesses proper up-to-date designation as a Florida CPTED Practitioner. We are aware of at least one property owner who hired a security consulting firm to conduct a CPTED assessment for compliance with Fla. Stat. § 768.0706(2)(b) only to discover afterward that the consultant did not have the proper credentials.

Likewise, ensure that the Florida CPTED Practitioner is conducting the assessment and making observations in close alignment with guidelines and practices promoted by the Florida Crime Prevention Training Institute (FCPTI). Although FCPTI is not specifically directed under the statute to establish standards for assessments, the Florida Crime Prevention Training Institute is named twice in the statute and will certainly be cited as an authority in future litigation.

Due to the manner in which Fla. Stat. § 768.0706 is written, it is expected that future lawsuits challenging a defendant’s status will depend on a “totality of circumstances” and even the smallest details matter in agregate. In this situation, it should be assumed that the Florida CPTED Practitioner’s report will be carefully scrutinized by a plaintiff expert for any inaccuracies, inconsistencies, omissions, or deviations from FCPTI’s guidelines.

To ensure that the Florida CPTED Practitioner’s report is ready for the rigors of challenge, it is highly recommended that property owners view an example of the consultant’s written work product to examine the practitioner’s attention to defensibility in court. 

Advice for vetting Florida CPTED Practitioners

Additional Articles Related to Florida Statute 768.0706 

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