The role of landscaping in crime prevention

When the phone rings in the middle of the night, it often means one thing: an emergency. Whether it’s a fire, a flood, vandalism or crime, it’s never a good thing.

You may feel a little lost when you think about how to prevent crime from happening on your property. Maybe you don’t know where to start. The good news is that research and studies conducted over the last few decades point to landscaping as a surefire strategy to prevent crime.

When many of us think of crime prevention, the first things that come to mind are police officers, sirens, guard dogs and community watch groups. But landscaping plays a quiet, more supporting role in stopping crime before it happens. Here are our tips for a safer, crime-free property.

How your landscape can stop crime in its tracks

  • Aid surveillance with lighting — A well-lit property is the first step to a safer property. It not only makes your property easier to navigate at night — but it also stops crimes before they even happen, because no one wants to get caught in the act. A University of Chicago study found that improved lighting decreased the crime rate in studied neighborhoods in New York City. If you have surveillance cameras installed, they’ll also be able to better capture vandalism or other petty crimes as they happen.
  • Improve visibility and prevent neglect — Properly trimmed trees and shrubs make landscapes more open. This openness prevents crime by creating more visual security. Messy gardens, broken pavers and parking lots full of potholes not only prevent people from using a landscape — they also encourage crime. A report from the University of Washington found that among minor crimes, there is less graffiti, vandalism, and littering in outdoor spaces with natural landscapes than in comparable spaces with no plants.
  • Stop crime with proper maintenance — There are many small ways that a landscape can add up to a safer property. For instance, gravel pathways create noise and can prevent crime. Dense landscapes can be used in the place of fences, keeping out intruders. And a healthy tree canopy has been proven to reduce crime. Researchers at the University of Vermont performed a study of Baltimore’s tree canopy. They found that a 10% increase in tree cover yielded at least a 12% decrease in crime!

Green spaces are community spaces

The outdoors are for everyone. Beautifully landscaped properties encourage visitors and customers. As humans, we love to be in natural surroundings. A report from the Yale School of Foresty & Environmental Studies suggests that having trees and grass in neighborhoods reduces stress and anxiety, encourages exercise and generally makes people more civil.

Ultimately, green spaces — whether in your local park, your backyard or on your commercial property — are spaces that are good for us. When they’re designed and maintained well, they make our communities better places to live. And they reduce crime at the same time.

Want to improve your property’s landscape? Our team at Landscape America would love to help you incorporate crime prevention strategies on your property. Get in touch with us today and let’s chat!