Reducing security risks through the physical design

Roseville, Calif. – During summer months many homeowners prepare for yard clean-up and landscaping projects. However, amidst the excitement of transforming outdoor spaces, it’s crucial to consider how our landscaping choices can impact the safety of our homes.

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) offers valuable insights into enhancing home security through the physical design of our properties. By focusing on elements such as fencing, lighting, and plants, CPTED aims to identify and mitigate areas that may attract criminal activity.

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Unsafe landscaping can inadvertently create opportunities for crime, while safe landscaping helps deter burglars and thieves. Here’s how you can transform your outdoor space into a safer environment:

Enhancing visibility

CPTED emphasizes the importance of increased visibility around properties to discourage criminal activity. When landscaping:

  • Follow the 3-8 rule: Keep hedges no higher than three feet and tree canopies starting no lower than eight feet, especially around entryways and windows.
  • Ensure outside lighting is adequate, with motion-sensing lights signaling to trespassers that they’ve been noticed.
  • Maintain clear sightlines through windows facing streets, as they provide natural surveillance.
    Securing entry points
    Distinct points of entry deter criminals, as they prefer areas with low visibility. Enhance natural access control by:
  • Ensuring front and back doors are clearly visible and well-lit.
  • Using dense or thorny landscaping to reinforce fences and discourage unwanted entry.
    Demonstrating ownership
    Show ownership of your community by maintaining a well-kept property and engaging in community-building activities:
  • Personalize your space with flower gardens and seasonal decorations to deter crime.
  • Regular maintenance sends a message of vigilance and care, discouraging vandalism.
    Neighborhood Watch: Community Vigilance
    Form a Neighborhood Watch group to actively prevent crime in your area:
  • Keep an eye out for unusual activity and report concerns promptly to the authorities.
  • Download our Neighborhood Watch Starter Guide posted below to get started today.

By implementing these strategies and fostering community vigilance, homeowners can create safer neighborhoods for themselves and their neighbors. Let’s work together to make our communities secure and thriving.


Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design

Decrease opportunities for criminal activity, simply and practically

Roseville, Calif.- Spring has arrived, flowers are in bloom, and now is the time to reduce your risk of being victimized. Utilizing the principles of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), you can protect your home and decrease opportunities for criminal activity in your neighborhood.

Whether you live in a single-family home, a condo, or an apartment, when CPTED principals are used together they can provide an effective defense mechanism. Criminals do not like to be seen or heard; so when you reduce places to hide, light-up dark areas, and reduce opportunities for easy access, you’ve successfully hardened your target.

The five main overlapping strategies of CPTED are: natural access control, natural surveillance, territorial reinforcement, activity support, and maintenance.

  • Natural access control – controlling the number of access points to a property.
  • Fencing around a property helps control access points.
  • Create walkways or pathways to intentionally guide visitors to proper entrances, and away from private areas.
  • Natural surveillance – a design intended to make intruders easily visible to people on the property or walking by on the sidewalk.
  • Install lighting and fully illuminate all walkways, pathways, and doorways.
  • Avoid landscaping (plants, fountains, or yard decor) that might create blind spots.
  • Territorial reinforcement – a strategy intended to clearly mark the edge of the private space from the public space. This can be done by using landscaping, pavement designs, signage, or fencing to create boundaries.
  • Clearly identify homes or apartment units with numbers that are visible from the street, high off the ground, and well-lit at night. This is also helpful to emergency responders when they are trying to locate your home, or the correct unit when responding to a call for service.
  • Define property lines with landscaping but use low shrubbery and fences to allow visibility from the street.
  • Target hardening – enhance the physical security of a property by using locks, security alarms, video monitoring systems, or other crime prevention methods.
  • Displaying ‘Beware’ decals can be an indication that the property is equipped with a home monitoring system.
  • Exterior door hinges should have the “pin” side facing inside so that the door swings out. Having the “pin” inside prevents an intruder from pushing the pin out and removing the door.
  • Maintenance – performing regular maintenance on the property and well-kept property helps to create a sense of guardianship and helps to deter criminals.
  • Prune trees and shrubs back from windows, doors, and walkways to ensure clear visibility.
  • Use and maintain exterior lighting, either permanently on lighting or motion sensor lighting.

Using CPTED designs can help implement effective use of landscaping and outdoor decorations to enhance the security and safety of your home. Some designs may require drastic changes, but many are simple steps that most residents can start doing right away.

If you happen to notice someone suspicious peeking around your neighbor’s house, or activating their motion sensor lighting, contact the Roseville Police Department or call 9-1-1.

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