Tall shrubs and overgrown trees are welcome hiding places for criminals to wait until the coast is clear to get into your house. That doesn't mean you need to cut down every plant in your yard. Just keep things manicured.
Low shrubs in front of windows remove additional covering for thieves if they attempt to break in through one. Cut away any tall tree branches that reach upper story windows and protect against attacks from above. Regularly trimming larger bushes and tree branches also eliminates dark shadows that help hide intruders.
This type of security measure is referred to as Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). CPTD strategies aim to prevent crime by creating an outdoor environment that makes it difficult to pull off. Its four tenets are:
- Natural surveillance -- keep entryways to your home visible to prevent people from being able to sneak up.
- Territorial reinforcement -- using landscaping and design to define your territorial space.
- Natural Access Control -- adding hindrances to easily access your property. For instance, holly bushes or other thorny shrubs around your house.
- Target Hardening -- structural security, such as deadbolts and double-paned windows.
[source: CPTED Security]
You can implement these techniques in various combinations, depending on your property. It can also spruce up the appearance of your yard as an added bonus.