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Master Gardener Journal  


N E O P H Y T E   N O O K



Landscaping and Crime Prevention

by Mike Mekelberg,
Master Gardener


The City of Tempe Police Department gave a presentation on "Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design" at the Southwest Horticultural Conference in September at the Phoenix Civic Plaza

Not many of us think about crime prevention when we design a landscape--usually we're thinking about year-round color or how to attract native wildlife to our yard. But who knew that a burglar might scope out a house based on the plants in the yard?

Of course, we're primarily talking about plant size and location as they pertain to hiding places.

In the new Tempe guidelines for architects, planners, and homeowners, all plants within 6 feet of a walkway must be of a species that will not exceed a height of 2 feet at maturity. Within 6 to 12 feet of a walkway, the plants must not exceed 3 feet at maturity.

Also within this area around walkways, trees must be pruned so that all branches are at least 6 feet from the ground. The idea is to enhance visibility for walkers and homeowners, and at the same time reduce hiding places for would-be criminals.

Security walls are now required to be at least 8 feet high. Anything less was found ineffective at reducing criminal access, but very effective at hiding those with criminal intent.

Lighting levels in entryways and such are required to be at least 5 to 10 times brighter than in parks and greenbelt areas.

Address numbers must be 6 inches high for single-family homes, and well lit.

Crime prevention through environmental design provides an additional element to consider when planning a yardscape. In fact, it may be the most important element of all.
Yuccas



Maricopa County Master Gardener Volunteer Information
Last Updated January 25, 2003
Author: Lucy K. Bradley, Extension Agent Urban Horticulture, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, Maricopa County
© 1997 The University of Arizona, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cooperative Extension in Maricopa County
Comments to Maricopa-hort@ag.arizona.edu 4341 E. Broadway Road, Phoenix, AZ 85040,
Voice: (602) 470-8086 ext. 301, Fax (602) 470-8092