- Created on Wednesday, 22 August 2012 14:23
- Written by Nancy Patterson, League of Power
- Hits: 350
Longtime readers know my propensity for writing about home security. I've written about the topic multiple times over the last few years.
Last time I wrote about home security tips, I focused on useful gadgets to deter criminals. I talked about cheap sensors that turn lamps on at dusk and off at dawn. They make it appear that someone is home for the low price of just $10. I also mentioned a product that simulates a ferociously barking dog to deter a burglar. For about $70, this product will activate when movement is detected by a sensor. It's high-tech enough to even increase the frequency of the dog's barking if the intruder continues to lurk on your property. In addition, I talked about buying decals from nationally known home security companies like ADT and Honeywell to display. You can buy them online for about $15 without having to pay monthly for these companies' services.
Those products work well at deterring criminals. But the best way to prevent a break-in is to make a criminal bypass your house just by the looks of it. Upon attending a local neighborhood watch meeting last week, I learned that landscaping can do double duty. It can make your house presentable on the outside so it looks nice and can also deter an intruder.
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Take, for example, pea gravel or loose stones. They look nice as an alternative to mulch or as material for a driveway. Most people choose them for their aesthetically pleasing value. But did you know that they can also deter would-be criminals from choosing your house to break into? Next time you walk on pea gravel or loose stones, pay attention to how much noise each of your steps makes. Intruders want to be stealthy when attempting to break into your premises. Making a crunching sound as they move around your house definitely won't provide the kind of anonymity they seek. Lay the gravel or stones around the perimeter of your house, especially near windows and other points of entry. This will prevent a criminal from being able to prowl silently around your house.
Same goes for thorny bushes. Nobody likes to get scratched and pricked by spiky plants -- including would be criminals. Plant prickly bushes like roses, cacti, blackberry and bougainvillea underneath windows. Their thorns are enough to make an intruder think twice about whether they'd like to enter your house that way. They are also good along fences and areas that would allow a criminal to climb up to the second level of your house. These plants won't keep your house from being approached initially, but as soon as a thief starts lurking near a window or fence, he'll realize pretty quickly that maneuvering around your property isn't as easy as he first thought it would be.
Speaking of plants and bushes... keep them trimmed. High hedges that keep nosy neighbors or headlights from passing cars off your house look great, but they also provide great hiding spots for thieves looking to break into your home. Trim any bushes near your house so they are no higher than three feet. You want to be able to have a clear line of sight across your property. Anything higher than three feet provides ample hiding space for anyone casing your house. Also trim back trees that could be climbed to gain entry to the second story of your house. Make sure there are no low-lying branches or ones that extend across your roofline.
Lighting used to illuminate your beautiful landscaping can also be good for deterring a break-in. Intruders hate light. They want to remain in the shadows while figuring out how to gain entry into your house. The more light you have around your property, the less hiding spots you provide for criminals. Use up lighting for landscaping around the perimeter of your property, as well as walkways, garbage and recycling storage areas and any other naturally dark areas of your property.
Most break-ins are crimes of opportunity. Thieves look for residences that are easy targets. Leaving lawn equipment out or a shed unlocked provides intruders with tools to help them break into your house. Even leaving a ladder out can draw a criminal to your house. They can quietly set it up to climb up to the second story of your house or your attic. Always keep sheds, detached garages and other outbuildings locked so as not to help criminals break into your residence.
Thieves are more attracted to residences with unruly lawns and overgrown shrubs. They signal to criminals that the property might be vacant or that the owners might be on vacation. You always want to give the appearance that someone is home. Leaving lights on in your home, cars parked in the driveway and a well-landscaped yard will give the appearance of an active household.
So the next time you want to redo your yard, keep in mind how your choice of plants and shrubs can deter criminals. Choose gravel or stones to make noise, thorny bushes or up-lighting and keep it all well maintained to prevent thieves from choosing your house to break into.