Mowing Down Criminals

"Mowing Down Criminals"

August 2019


It’s that time of the year. Your grass, bushes, and trees are growing longer and fuller every day. No amount of complaining or ignoring will defeat Mother Nature. However, there may be a real plus side to all of this. It’s a great time to stop and take a critical look at your landscaping - but this time thru the eyes of a criminal.

Like all predators, before striking, a potential residential burglar or home invader will assess your location for its weaknesses. They will look for any concealment your property affords them since that will make their “job” that much easier. Anything blocking a clear, street side view to windows and doors from passing cars, neighbors, pedestrians, etc. will make you a more likely victim. The fancy name for addressing this situation is “Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design” (CPTED).

Here’s a quick checklist for you to use:

3 foot-6 foot Rule –Anything growing up from the ground (bushes, shrubs, plants) should be no taller than 3 feet. Anything growing downward (trees, branches, vines, moss) should reach no lower than 6 feet from ground level. This rule is especially important for anything growing at or near any window and door around the entire perimeter of your home. Ideally, the areas immediately around doors and windows are kept free from any type of obstruction. Additionally, keeping these areas wide open will allow you to clearly view and assess any outside suspicious activity or noise from inside the safety your home.

Keep your lawn neatly cut. Criminals sometimes associate a sloppy looking house as an easier opportunity since the homeowner appears “less caring”. The criminal may also conclude that it’s more likely the home is currently unoccupied. Do not leave any items not in use lying openly on your property. This includes ladders, shovels, garden tools, etc. which could be used to force entry into your home and/or be used as an improvised weapon against you.

An excellent addition to your lawn or garden is a metal “Protected By…..” sign. Some signs are valid, some systems may be inactive, and some are “fake”.  However, they’ll all discourage criminals from choosing your home for their criminal activity.

Criminals, like the rats they are, do not like light. This is a large topic but let’s cover the basics. At a minimum, lights should be placed at all doors (front, back, garage, sheds). They should be placed high enough to prevent easy disabling while maintaining their brightness. Your choices will include solar powered, hard wired, timed, and motion activated. Which is the best type? Simple, the one you buy, use and maintain.

SABRE, one of my long standing affiliated companies, offers a variety of personal safety and home defense products. They are a rock solid organization and the preferred equipment supplier of police departments throughout the world.  I encourage you to view their products at

Thank you.


Rick Wehrheim

NRA Regional Recruiter & Certified Instructor

Director, HomeGuard Associates

Phone: 352-503-6931