Proactive landscaping can reduce crime

St. Albert RCMP encourages residents to use gardening tactics to thwart criminals

People love to enjoy the outdoors in the warm weather months, and that includes property criminals. Break-and-enter abusers often target homes at random, but homeowners have tools in place to reduce the risk of crime.

In this crime-fighting campaign, St. Albert RCMP urges homeowners to consider crime prevention through environmental design, a tactical four-point plan for spring and summer projects that makes a property less attractive to criminals.

In short, the plan’s design principles are to reduce crime by making effective landscaping decisions that affect a criminal’s ability to succeed.

“It’s a way of looking around your property and asking if everything looks safe.” Trying to think beyond our normal expectations of locking doors and windows, ”said MJ Burroughs, St. Albert RCMP media officer.

The program highlights four principles: natural surveillance; natural access control; territorial reinforcement; and space management and maintenance.

Natural surveillance refers to having a good line of sight across the property to deter criminals from planning a home invasion. Large trees, thick bushes, and boulders are attractive to wildlife, but can also camouflage offenders.

“Natural surveillance is trees and bushes that are kept at a level that can be seen above them. Some people have bushes that cover their windows, ”said Burroughs.

Natural access control goes one step further.

“Is there a clear path to the door and different areas for access to your house? Basically, it’s about preventing anyone from hiding with bushes by the door because you don’t have clear access control. ”

Territorial reinforcement refers to how homeowners decorate and personalize their property on the outside to add a living feel to a home – flower pots, cut bushes, cut grass, and a tidy home and garage.

“The territorial reinforcement ensures that there is motion-sensitive lighting outside. Do you have a door with a peephole to see who comes and goes at the front door? It’s things like that and knowing who your neighbors are. ”

The final principle is space management and maintenance – the continued maintenance and repair of a property.

“It’s about keeping things clear and not having too much clutter where people can hide. Most people might have a chair on their doorstep or on the porch. That’s OK. But there are some people who have too many things in the mess. Or they didn’t look after their property, “said Burroughs.

Although opaque fences block a line of sight, Burroughs notes that these are natural backyard barriers that impede access.

“I strongly recommend having a fence for your yard to contain the area. I strongly recommend installing motion detector lights. It’s huge, especially at night. You don’t want light to bother your neighbor, but we have so many options right now, including solar lights. They are a good defense mechanism. ”

Burroughs said that in addition to installing locks on doors, investing in locks for windows is a good idea.

“In the past, you could get wooden dowels for sliding windows so that they wouldn’t slide open completely. Many new ones can be set to open only a small amount. But if you’re in an older house, we still recommend wooden dowels or an aluminum rod so that criminals don’t open them. ”

Another important safety measure is the installation of exterior doors that open outwards.

“When someone breaks in and has the ability to kick a door, it’s easier to kick a door down. It’s harder to kick a door that swings outward. It’s the same with windows. ”

Homeowners are also encouraged to lock their front doors and garage doors while working in the backyard, and ask neighbors or friends to take care of their property while traveling.

“If you see anything suspicious, be it on your property or that of your neighbor, don’t hesitate to call the police. We work 24 hours a day. If you think something is wrong, trust your instincts. Call us.”

St. Albert RCMP can be reached at 780-458-4300 or 911 in an emergency.

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