CPTED Alberta was created by its Founder and Director, John Beatson. John saw a need for Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) after spending over three decades as a police officer as well as time in the military and security industry. John realized that for the first 26 years of his police career he had spent almost all his time responding to calls from people in distress as crime was happening or had already happened. Then in 2014 that all changed when he realized crime and disorder could be prevented or reduced significantly through CPTED.
John started out his police career in Toronto Canada in 1988 at the age of 20 where he would work for the next 23 years gaining skills and knowledge that he still uses to this day.
John’s first 10 years were spent working in a patrol car and as a detective in the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB). During that time, he became a member of Toronto’s Public Safety Unit (PSU) (Crowd Control) and was deployed multiple times to large and sometimes violent demonstrations. To enhance his safety, he took self-defence training in Japanese and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as well as boxing and kickboxing.
Following his patrol and CIB assignments he was assigned to the Toronto Police College as an instructor. He completed the Use of Force Instructors Course at the Ontario Police College which included an effective presentation component. In his first two years at the college, he taught Use of Force training. This training included a classroom component as well as defensive tactics and a firearms qualification. He then moved into the Advanced Patrol Training Section where he facilitated a variety of classes including Criminal Code, Arrests, Provincial Statutes, Diversity, Defensive Tactics and Active Attacker Scenarios using Simunition (paint bullets) training aids.
As a police officer, he was required to become adept at applying his knowledge of relevant laws and policies in a wide variety of situations. Further, during his tenure at the Toronto Police College, he instructed officers in multiple courses.
After serving approximately five years at the Toronto Police College, John joined the Emergency Task Force (ETF Tactical Section). During his eight years with the ETF, he received specialized training in a variety of different areas. Some of these areas included rappelling, aircraft assault, hostage rescue, sniper training, crisis negotiation, close protection and explosive disposal. During his last two years in the section, he became the team leader of Special Weapons Team 7. His duties as team leader included assessing tactical situations and providing solutions to bring about a successful resolution, assigning team members to a variety of different tasks and ongoing team training.
In 2011 John moved across the country and joined the Edmonton Police Service. Another large and professional municipal police agency in Canada. While working with the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) John chose a different career path and instead of being primarily involved in reactive policing, he became a Community Police Officer. John didn’t know it yet, but this was the beginning of his passion for CPTED.
He was initially trained in Basic CPTED by the Edmonton Police Service in March 2014 while serving as part of a Neighbourhood Empowerment Team (NET). NET was a multi-disciplinary team consisting of a social worker, youth worker and police officer. He used the CPTED knowledge he had acquired to successfully improve areas of concern in the community he watched over. While attached to the NET team, he also co-created the Edmonton Safer Parking Initiative (SPI) to assess and enhance the safety of parking lots in the City of Edmonton. This program was also primarily based on CPTED principles.
John saw the value in CPTED and began working closely with the EPS CPTED Unit and eventually transitioned over to the Crime Prevention Unit focusing mainly on CPTED.
John’s role was to provide CPTED training to a wide variety of people and organizations as well as perform CPTED audits for City of Edmonton properties, not for profit organizations and areas identified as being affected by high crime and disorder. He also reviewed and provided quality control of all CPTED audits performed by EPS officers and has had the opportunity to implement new innovative CPTED strategies. CPTED is used in Edmonton to reduce crime, improve community safety and improve the quality of life for its citizens.
John also was involved and helped facilitate and teach the Crime Free Multi-Housing Program (CFMH) which also has a significant CPTED component built into it. Edmonton’s CFMH Program is very successful, one of the largest in North America, currently having over 300 certified locations serving over 21000 residents.
In 2016 John received further EPS Enhanced CPTED training and assisted in teaching and developing courses. In November 2017 John became the EPS CPTED Coordinator and received additional CPTED training in the United States from the National Institute of Crime Prevention (NICP) taking the Basic CPTED course in December 2017 followed by the NICP Advanced CPTED and Specialized Topics courses earning the CPTED Professional Designation (CPD) in April 2018.
After becoming the EPS CPTED Coordinator, John helped further develop courses taught by the EPS. He would teach three Basic and one Advanced CPTED courses a year in Edmonton and had numerous requests to teach in other locations in Canada but was restricted as a result of his attachment to the EPS. The courses were primarily offered to law enforcement officers, peace officers, city planners, architects, private security managers, private and public sector property managers and other members of the community interested in crime prevention.
As well as teaching Basic and Advanced CPTED courses, John also provided CPTED presentations and initiatives with diverse groups of people. He presented to high schools, community leagues, members of the CFMH Program and places of worship to educate people about CPTED to help foster safer communities. He was involved in a provincial CPTED competition engaging university students to have them come up with new crime prevention strategies. John also worked with the Calgary Police Service CPTED Coordinator to deliver a CPTED provincial framework to reduce rising crime in liquor stores.
John also worked on a project with the Edmonton Public School Board to create a CPTED class consisting of grade five and six students. This class educated students about CPTED. The students then conduct a CPTED audit of their own school and surrounding area. The next step would have been to work with students to implement the CPTED recommendations they put forward, present this to stakeholders and finally help educate other students in CPTED. This class is designed to help encourage young people to learn real life skills as well as academic skills in school. This was unfortunately paused due to the pandemic but will be implemented again through CPTED Alberta once conditions allow it to move forward safely.
During his time with EPS, John was fortunate to establish a relationship with The International CPTED Association (ICA). This led to the courses he taught at the EPS being recognized by the ICA and being regarded as Class ‘A’ accredited courses helping students work toward the ICA professional designation. John received the ICA CPTED Professional Designation ICCP making him one of a handful of people holding this accreditation in Canada and around the world.
John is passionate about CPTED and sharing what he knows with people interested in crime prevention. He knows this knowledge will help all people create safe and enjoyable places to live, work and play. He hopes to grow and evolve CPTED in Canada and eventually around the world helping people achieve a better quality of life.