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Natural Access Control

The four interrelated concepts include:

  1. Natural Surveillance
  2. Natural Access Control – is the physical guidance of people coming and going from a space by the judicial placement of entrances, fences, landscaping, and lighting. This principle helps deter access to a crime target or victim and creates a perception of risk to a perpetrator.
  3. Territorial Reinforcement
  4. Maintenance

The bollard lights placed at the entrance to this office building, left, provide Natural Access Control because they guide you toward the building’s entrance. Notice that there are no signs to indicate this is the building’s entrance. However, the combination of a walkway, landscaping, and bollard lights guides visitors to the entrance. Other CPTED concepts at work here are Natural Surveillance due to the clear sight lines of this area, Territorial Reinforcement and Maintenance.


Right, a fence provides Access Control into a neighborhood and provides opportunities for Natural Surveillance due to its open design. The sidewalk is also a form of Access Control because it guides residents along the roadway and provides a safe pedestrian area. Territorial Reinforcement is also in place at the community’s entrance with entrance features such as the sign and the landscape design.


Left, a security guard provides Access Control to this building by monitoring who comes and goes and by managing where they go. This is an organized form of Access Control.

Below, an employee illustrates a card reader system, which also controls access to her office building. This is an example of Mechanical Access Control.


Mechanical Access Control may also be achieved through locking mechanisms shown below such as the double cylinder deadbolt, left, and the single cylinder deadbolt, right.

Design Strategies for Natural Access Control:

Use fencing material or landscaping to prevent or discourage access into unmonitored areas.

Limit the number of access points into a building.

Install mechanical or electronic locks.

Proceed to Territorial Reinforcement

Contact Us


7721 E. Parham Rd.
Henrico, VA 23294

Police Non-Emergency
(804) 501-5000
General Information
(804) 501-4800

[email protected]

Mailing Address
P. O. Box 90775
Henrico, VA 23273-0775

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