Helms School of Government


Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice (PhD)


Angela A. Swan


Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, Border Security, Violent Crime Rate, Property Crime Rate


Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration


Crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) is a theory of crime control that posits that crime can be mitigated by shaping the physical, psychological, and social environment to prevent the meeting of perpetrators and victims. Over several decades, the United States applied the principles of CPTED to the United States-Mexico border in San Diego to secure the international border. Despite the sovereign right to secure the international border, border security became a divisive and emotionally charged topic in the United States. Studies on the effectiveness of border security were qualitative and humanitarian, describing how border security negatively impacted certain groups and was not beneficial to safety. This observational, non-experimental, quantitative study looked at the correlation between the efforts of the United States to secure the border in San Diego and the violent and property crime rates in San Diego between 1996 and 2020, as the principles of CPTED were applied. The violent and property crime rates in San Diego fell significantly between 1996 and 2020, with the property crime rate declining the most. The study found a statistically significant, strong negative correlation between applying CPTED principles on the border and the violent and property crime rates in San Diego between 1996 and 2020.