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Fighting Crime With Flower Power

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  • Fighting Crime With Flower Power

    Interesting article by "Physical Security" writer Harry Erickson of Security Magazine.

    Sure, most parts of the U.S. may be headed for a long winter, but spring will eventually come! And with it comes an opportunity to fight crime.

    Here’s a new concept: battling the bad guys with Bougainvillea? Foil felons with Fuchsias, and chase criminals with Camellias? Can flowers actually help prevent crime at your property? The answer is “yes.” Flowers and landscape plants can not only beautify your property, but can be an effective crime fighting tool as well.

    Historically, we have relied on methods of security that are of the “target hardening” variety such as locks, gates and iron bars to prevent crime. These visible security devices are valuable, but sometimes limited in their effectiveness. Today, many are turning to the softer side of crime prevention, and complimenting locks and deadbolts with landscape plants, flowers and other design features to provide an additional layer of safety and security.

    CPTED focuses on how the environment contributes to the crime rate, and incorporates design features to remove the opportunity for crime. Crimes occur because there is opportunity for the criminal to commit the crime. Many times the physical design of one property offers more opportunity than the next for the criminal to operate. By incorporating CPTED, you can lessen the opportunity for crime, making your property a less attractive target for criminals.

    The one aspect of CPTED, Natural Surveillance, is that criminals feel less comfortable in areas where they are being watched, or may be seen. Keeping shrubs and trees trimmed to maintain the feeling of openness and visibility makes the criminal element feel like they are at risk of getting caught. On the other hand, legitimate users of an area feel safer because they can see what is going on around them and can see potential threats and respond quicker. A property with overgrown and unkempt landscape is an invitation for criminals.

    Natural Access Control utilizes landscape plants and other natural design elements to channel people away from unauthorized areas. For instance, a paved walkway lined with flowers strongly suggests the approved route to a proper entrance. A thorny vine or rose bush can restrict access to windows or a graffiti-plagued wall, and add beauty to the property as well. The goal of using landscape plants is not necessarily to prevent, but to discourage trespassing into unauthorized areas. This is accomplished in a more subtle way rather than overwhelming the environment with the presence of “hard” security measures.

    Territorial Reinforcement is based on the idea that criminals feel less comfortable operating in areas where they perceive someone is in control. Territorial Reinforcement utilizes “Pride in Ownership” to send a clear message that the people responsible for a property take pride in it and will challenge someone coming there to commit crimes. Utilizing decorative pavers or colored concrete and freshly planted flowers to identify private property gives residents a sense of territoriality and projects the image that someone is responsible for the property. Criminals are less likely to commit crimes where they feel that there are people who take an interest in the property and will protect it.

    Take a look around your property and decide if it offers added opportunity for crime. Is it an attractive target for criminals due to the lack of a little TLC, or does it project the image that care has been taken to maintain it? Remember, an overgrown ficus tree can offer opportunity for a criminal to operate unnoticed. On the other hand, a delicate row of daisies can be a subtle but powerful guardian, protecting your property, while looking good doing it.
    Pop Pop - It reminds me of an old statement by my Master Sergeant. "A Good Run is better then a Bad Stand".

    Sec Trainer- Pop Pop: Hope you don't mind if I quote your Master Sergeant. He was a very smart man.

    Pop Pop- Yes Sir, Thank you Senior Instructor Sec Trainer, hope you don't mind if I place your quote into my Signature?

    Sec Trainer- Permission granted, recruit. Now, police the company area!

    flat out cool..

  • #2
    Excellent post. At my site we've found that well maintained blackberry bushes on our perimeter fence line discourages the teens from climbing over. (Or maybe they gain so much weight from eating the berries they give up.)

    The bushes are high maintenance (they grow fast), but they are a great "natural barb wire."


    • #3
      Anybody who's ever pruned Bougainvillea can attest to the repellant power of selected plantings.

      Can't grow bougainvillea here in NoNV, but: wild roses are native here; fire/drought/heat/cold resistant, transplant well, and are more painful to force through than a cholla cactus thicket; we use 'em to great effect here.
      Last edited by 5423; 01-28-2012, 06:00 PM. Reason: clarifying...
      "I'll defend with my life your right to disagree with me" - anonymous


      • #4
        In the canyon area North of San Diego we had an 10 -15 foot area surrounding the house for fire protection. I can attest to the fact it worked really good.
        Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
        Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

        Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference


        • #5
          , hello!

          china quality control - sourcing agent - sourcing agent


          • #6
            I remember this topic in a CPTED course. Be sure to plant for your area and don't affect a gas, electric or water meter reader's or inspector's movement.
            Quote me as saying I was mis-quoted.
            Groucho Marx


            • #7
              well tilled soft soil keeps from people wandering where they shouldn't, unlike lawns.

              Most burglars, lurkers and others wont walk where it feels like their shoes are sinking 4" deep into dirt/mud, with plants. Plus, the semi-unique dirt will ID them or their cars for sometime afterward, if needed.

              These Yellow Star Thistles have many good points(pardon pun) but will be considered "weeds" and sign of neglect.


              They seem like they are going to cause week-long pain and itch, but it goes away in minutes(got forced to tromp through 200yds worth in short and sneakers).

              Some low cactus would be nice, but lets face it, with "slip and fall" being an issue, what Property Manager would risk member of public slippin and fallin on cactus?

              Personally, I've never been a fan of your standard lawn for commercial landscaping. High maintenance to keep it even half decent looking. Trick is to get something that looks like "money" but isn't, and isn't a bunch of tall grass for people to hide in. I like "Baby Tears" over grass, and it works in shady areas where grass struggles. It spreads itself pretty well. Mints also good.

              I'm all for planting mostly edible plants and fruit trees. They might be a little messy at certain times of year, but most fruit trees don't offer too much concealment besides a 8" wide trunk. At least with fruit trees you got a reason to do some landscape maintenance.

              Crunchy lava rock that makes a lot of noise when you walk on it might help, in areas where plants just aren't an option.