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N E O P H Y T E N O O K
Landscaping and Crime Prevention
by Mike Mekelberg,
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
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.
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 Maricopafirstname.lastname@example.org 4341 E. Broadway Road, Phoenix, AZ 85040,
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