Landscaping with CPTED

Before: These shrubs are too high and thick and cover the windows creating a hiding place for burglars.

Euclid’s Pond and Garden Tour highlights the beauty and creativity of landscaping, but did you realize that yard and garden choices can also help your home become a fortress!  CPTED stands for Crime Prevention by Environmental Design and utilizing its principles promotes a safer environment.  CPTED includes Access Control, Natural Surveillance, and Territorial Reinforcement. Let’s take a look at each one and how to incorporate CPTED into landscaping choices.

Access Control is decreasing the opportunity for unintended use of your property.  We want to keep burglars out of our homes so we usually think of deadbolt locks, but you can make it more difficult for the burglar to approach the doors or windows.  Planting low growing and thorny, prickly or dense shrubs under the windows around your house would prohibit someone from standing under them.  For the front door walkway, line each side with low ground cover plants which reminds people to “stay within the lines” of your walkway.  Although this does not prohibit someone from approaching your door, it does send a message that cutting across the lawn is discouraged. Besides installing a fence to deter unwanted use, plant tall thick shrubbery that becomes a formidable barrier.  Privet Hedge, Arborvitae, Burning Bush, Lilacs and Forsythia are good choices, but there are many varieties in a multitude of colors.  Vigorous climbers are good but may take years to develop to create something impenetrable.  Check with a local garden center for prickly shrubs that grow 3’ or less for planting under windows, and tall or wide growing shrubs for creating a defensive barrier in open spaces. Check out:

Natural Surveillance provides views of those using your property.  From inside your home there should be clear views outside through windows.  This is why shrubs planted under windows should be under 3’.  If there are trees in your yard that block views outside because of low hanging branches, then undercut branches to a height of 5’.  Trees or shrubs that hinder views should be pruned to create better visibility.  This also allows your neighbors across the street to have an open view of your property and watchful neighbors quick to call 9-1-1 help Euclid Police catch criminals in the act!

Territorial Reinforcement means designing the property to show ownership. Vacant houses become derelict where trespassers are free to break-in and steal copper pipes or worse. Homes that are well-maintained with landscaped yards look like someone cares which can be a deterrent to crime.  Make sure you have a large visible address sign on your property and that the yard and driveway is well-lit at night.  Motion sensors and solar lights can be added to your landscape or gardens to create needed illumination.   

As you tend to your summer yard and garden, think about what you can plant in the fall or next spring to improve and fortify your castle! 

Kate McLaughlin

I am the Community Policing Specialist at the Euclid Police Department.

Read More on Community
Volume 11, Issue 8, Posted 6:26 PM, 08.10.2020