Sunday, July 5, 2020
League of Power

The League of power

"Freedom by Friday"

Protect Your Home With Curb Appeal

Long time 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 lamp sensors that turn on lamps 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 by-pass 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 looks nice and it 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 it 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 make. Intruders want to be stealthy when attempting to break-in to 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 out buildings 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, up-lighting and keep it all well maintained to prevent thieves from choosing your house to break into.

Good luck!

Keeping Money in Your Pocket,

Nancy Patterson

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  1. Sue August 22, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Hello Nancy,

    All great tips for protecting a home.I didn’t think about the noise gravel makes. Appearances do make a difference. Some other points would be if mail was not taken in and left in a mail box could be a sign that the occupant may be away,or many flyers or newspapers not taken in for days.

    I’ve seen the light sensored outdoors lights in action. They certainly could be a deterrent because they go on even if you are on the sidewalk just passing a house that has them installed. Also, Beware of dog sign stickers have been used unless you actually have a dog. Unfortunately, many people are picking Pit Bulls for their choice of dogs. You definitely wouldn’t want to intrude on a
    property with one of these inside.But then again, Pit Bulls don’t necessarily pick just intruders to go after which is a big danger for the neighborhood especially where children reside.

    Thank you for sharing this post.

  2. Tammy August 22, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Why bother with spending $70, go to the animal shelter and get herself a pit-bull.
    They are loyal and loving animals, and everyday they kill over 100 in Florida alone! As long as you spend the time training humor her she will be loyal and protective over you! Pets are wonderful companions.

  3. Allistair August 22, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    Dear Nancy,

    This is a great report (above)! However, I personally “hate” thorny bushes. For me, thorny bushes in your yard are so “negative”.

    However, I live in a part of Canada (and may God bless Canada, while we struggle to hold on to everything that makes us uniquely Canadian, in light of the pervasive US influence) in which I have no fear of (potential) thieves.

    The area (City) in which I live is relatively “affluent” (you may do a Google map street view of my address – ask LOP admin for my address), and it is one of the fastest growing Cities in Canada. Yet, I am never concerned about (potential) thieves.

    Have you ever wondered why the (supposedly) wealthy USA has the largest percentage of prisoners in the World? Is it that many criminals in other countries are simply allowed to run free? Or is it something about the US socioeconomic conditions? Could it be that criminals from all over the World seek the USA as their “home”? And if so, why?

    Much of the prison population in the USA are the thieves your report is advising how to deter. However, the prison population in the supposedly wealthy USA will continue to grow and grow (out pacing even more, the rest of the World), while PRIVATE (for profit) prison services will continue to increase – hence, transforming prison services in the USA into “big business”.

    The growing prison population in the US (and much of which are the thieves Home Owners wish to deter) are in sync with the decline of the socioeconomic system in the USA (and the World in general).

    Any thinking person can see that a forever growing percentage in the prison population is an undeniable indication of a collapsing socioeconomic system. (right?)

    Thank you for reading.

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