Have you been dealing with suspected criminal activity around your commercial property? 

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) safety assessments are a free resource that the Moose Jaw Police Service has had available to commercial businesses for the last couple of years. 

The assessments are undertaken at businesses by Constable Reggie Pawliw, and include a half-hour presentation to management and interested employees, a review of the property including taking pictures, and a final report compiled by Pawliw on changes that the business can make to help prevent crime. 

CPTED is based around the concept of how the building and surrounding area can be changed and maintained to deter criminal activity, based on principles including natural surveillance, access control, territorial reinforcement, and maintenance.  

“Obviously it’s not 100 per cent guaranteed that this is going to work, but it’s just an extra tool for us to have to educate people on to further proceed, and hopefully make everything safer,” explained Pawliw, who has been conducting the assessments since taking CPTED training over two years ago.  

Pawliw provided his top three recommendations for commercial businesses, which can apply to residential properties as well: 

  1. Lighting  

Motion lights are particularly useful for deterring people.  

“Once the light goes on, it gives that fear factor, and most of the time they’ll take off, because they don’t want to be seen." 

Lights should be at a height where they cannot be damaged. 

  1. Cameras 

Depending on the available budget, cameras can be helpful as a deterrent and  in cases where crime does occur, particularly when paired with lights. 

“With police, it helps our investigations, obviously, to recognize and identify people.” 

He adds that cameras, like lights, should be located at a height where they cannot be removed without a ladder where possible.  

  1. Sightline maintenance 

Shrubs should be maintained to be no higher than 2 feet tall, and tree canopies should be higher than six feet so people cannot hide their presence. 

“If you can see what’s going on at all times while you’re there, that’s huge.” 

He added that making sure that you close the blinds or curtains to prevent people seeing inside the building after hours can also be a deterrent.  


Pawliw has assisted approximately one dozen businesses with CPTED, with five undergoing a full assessment. He said for businesses that don’t want the full assessment, he can provide some quick tips.  

“I just think it’s important to educate as many people as we can, and by that give them examples of some of the businesses I’ve done, or people I’ve talked to, and how it’s worked.” 

“Thieves aren’t going away, but the best thing we can do is mitigate them from coming into our place and stealing our things,” he added. 

Those interested in getting a CPTED assessment done for their building can reach out to css@mjpolice.ca