Crime is one of several, forces that cause transitions in the physical city environment resulting in changes in behaviour patterns from day to night. Transitions in the physical environment and behaviour patterns responding to crime and fear of crime are summarised in a review of the literature on crime prevention through environmental design with respect to three rationales in theory. The hardware rationale causes transitions through access control devices such as gates, grilles, screens and locks which tend to modify the shape of the physical environment and the way in which the city is used. The social surveillance rationale which involves lighting, removal of opportunities for concealment and strategies for promoting pedestrian activity strives to increase the likelihood of crimes being observed in progress thereby increasing the perceived risk by the criminal. The community building rationale involves transitions in the city environment which promote territoriality, natural surveillance and an enhanced perception of image, and milieu. Among the more significant conclusions from the literature are that crime prevention theory would seem to apply less to urban contexts than to residential settings; that the perception of safe places does not always correlate with such places in actuality; and that real affects of transitions on behaviour should be studied more closely. Changes in the physical environment of the city attributable to crime and fear of crime are illustrated by a case study of day to night transitions in Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand.