How "hostile vegetation" can make your home safer

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Using landscape design to improve home safety

When you think of ways to protect your home against crime, you might think of things like installing new locks, reinforcing the strike plates on your door latches, or maybe adding a security camera.  But do the words “hostile vegetation” ever come to mind?

It turns out that landscaping choices can impact how crime-resistant your place may be.  It’s a part of a field called Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED.)

Patty Lammers is a Crime Prevention Coordinator with the Saint Paul Police Department, and her job includes helping neighborhood residents identify ways to make their homes safer.

5 CPTED Starting Points

Lammers offered these five suggestions for using plants as extra protection:

  1. Trim bushes down to 3 feet tall so people can’t hide behind them.
  2. Trim evergreens 3 feet up from the bottom.
  3. Don’t plant bushes within six feet of doors.
  4. Plant hostile vegetation in areas where you don’t want people to be (such as below bedroom windows, along the side of your garage).  Hostile vegetation typically has thorns that keep people from getting too close. You can download a list of plant suggestions here.
  5. Plant flowers along walkways to direct people where you want them to go.

Lammers noted that landscaping is part of a safety package that should also take into consideration lighting, locks, and other security methods.

For More Information

The St. Paul Police Department offers free premise surveys to all residents.  Trained staff will review your home and make recommendations on landscaping, locks, security alarms, etc.  To schedule a survey, or if you have any questions please contact Patty Lammers at 651-266-5455 or patricia.lammers@ci.stpaul.mn.us

 

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