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To create a “clear-view zone”, plants, bushes, and trees should be trimmed so that they are not any higher than the window sills, or with trees, no branches below three feet. Make sure that the plants don’t create places of concealment, particularly next to the entrance or at bedroom windows. If plants are overgrown, ask to have them trimmed before buying a new home. If you’re selecting planting materials, work with a landscaper to ensure that the plants you choose won’t grow to create a security problem.

Privacy fences limit the ability of your neighbors and police/security patrols to see the enclosed area. If you don’t really need the privacy, consider a cyclone or other fencing material that won’t block your view. If the telephone and/or home cable come in overhead, verify where the nearest above-ground splice-boxes are located and whether those locations are inside fenced yards or are accessible to anyone. Buried utilities are far less susceptible to interruption and are unlikely to be manipulated by criminals.

There should be a light outside every door on the house to enable a safe scan of the area from inside. Consider using vandal-resistant globes on each light fixture. It’s possible to wire these fixtures to a photo-cell or timer so that they automatically come on at dusk and turn off at dawn. This arrangement ensures we illuminate the exterior of your home at night and makes it more difficult for someone who might watch to know your going time.

We can also install inexpensive motion sensors on almost any existing or new exterior fixture to turn on the light automatically when someone approaches the door. We can usually adjust the sensors to determine how close someone approaches before the light is activated. Most of these devices also have a photo-cell, so they don’t activate during the day. Newer systems can also turn many lights in the home on and off at different times during the night, giving the illusion of someone being home.