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What is Natural Surveillance?

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Natural surveillance is an urban design, architecture and landscaping technique that seeks to deter crime with social and highly visible spaces.


Natural surveillance is based on the theory that isolation makes crime both easier and more likely. According to the theory, a neighborhood with no social spaces and high fences around every house is more likely to experience crime because neighbors don't know each other. When a crime does occur, the hidden nature of each property is dangerous as a cry for help can easily go unnoticed.

Social & Open

Natural surveillance requires both lively, social spaces and open highly viewable architecture, landscapes and built environments. Public spaces that are attractive to people such as dog parks, playgrounds and cafes contribute to the community environment required for natural surveillance.
Natural surveillance doesn't require that streets, parks, houses and gardens be stripped of all features to increase visibility. A generally open feel to things is often enough to embody a sense that a space is social as opposed to isolated. The term natural surveillance is associated with the design of communities to support a high quality of life as opposed to prison-like levels of security.
Overview: Natural Surveillance
Urban Design
Physical Security
The use of highly social and open spaces to discourage crime.
A house with a highly viewable garden and big windows beside a popular dog park.
Designs that are both pleasing and reasonably secure.
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