Are You Eazy Pickins? Landscaping
Written by Robert D. Sollars
Believe it or not, your landscaping can be a large part of keeping you and your home safe from criminals. Even living in an apartment, you still have to pay attention to the landscaping to ensure it’s safe. The management of your complex is more concerned with aesthetics rather than security because understandably they want the property to be as appealing and saleable as possible.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t always translate into keeping the grounds safe & secure for residents, especially the disabled or elderly. Bushes that are chest high, trees that overhang the roof or close to balconies, and blind spots of lighting can be aesthetically pleasing. However, they can be, as the old saying goes, “pretty to look at, dangerous to hold”.
If you have ornamental bushes growing to the window ledges of the house, ensure that they don’t let them grow past the bottom of the window. If someone wants to break into your house, they want to do so unobserved. If you must have something growing in front of the window then plant a rose or similar thorny bush. Unless they chop away the branches, it’ll keep them away from the window.
The same goes for any bushes you may have to line your driveway, front sidewalk, or entry walkway. They are aesthetically pleasing but can also hide someone who wishes to assault you or surprise you close to the door, which means less time being exposed to anyone who may see.
Also, ensure that they are planted at least 2 feet from any exterior wall. If you plant them close to the wall, it is easier for someone to hide. This allows you to visually inspect behind them so you can observe anyone or anything. Criminals will do whatever is necessary to hide from being observed & gain access to you and your home.
Trees can be another way for criminals to get into your home. If you live in an apartment, then it is definitely a threat to get in. I’m willing to go out on a limb and state that most people don’t think of a tree as a threat to their security. The limbs can be very strong, enough to hold a man as large as 250 lbs. if they can climb on one, then they can gain access to your 2nd story windows and roof and in an apartment up to and including upper stories, sometimes as high as 3 stories.
Trim them so if they reach your upper stories, they can’t support a human, not even a child. If you live in an apartment, then inform your complex office that there is a problem with the trees, and don’t back down if they dismiss you.
Give them a couple of weeks to remedy the situation and if they don’t do anything but try to placate you, make your message to them even stronger. And if you’re elderly or disabled you have to keep documentation of what you said and did. That way they can’t evict you for causing problems later. Nor can they say that you didn’t tell them or it was all in your mind, yes I’ve seen this happen more than a few times.
You must have adequate lighting around your home or complex also. At the very least you should have lights over and above every exterior door in your house… that work. This will allow you to potentially scare someone away if you feel threatened for any reason.
In a complex, lighting is just as important. Ornamental lighting is perfectly acceptable unless it is strictly ornamental and does little to illuminate the property. There are many lighting units that can be placed next to sidewalks and illuminate them, using solar power… meaning no construction or light bills. At the very least the complex needs to have area lighting as well throughout the grounds, so that anyone who doesn’t belong there can be closely scrutinized, if a threat appears or the police need to search.
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