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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Security Landscaping - Part One - An Introduction

I was reading a blog by “Riverwalker” and got to thinking … No matter our age or if alone, a couple or in a family unit, urban, suburban or rural, we all want to be safe while in our homes or yards and we want our homes safe when we aren’t there. On top of that we also want our “homesteads” to look nice and be relatively easy and cheap to care for (and maintain).

I currently live in Albuquerque, NM, which is rather unique in that we have a rural valley that runs through the middle of town that we affectionately call “The Bosque”. Part of this area is dubbed “The East Side”, which means the east side of the Sandia Mountains. Although my home is in the “northeast”, it is still west of the mountain. I have survived the “autumn of the bear” in my backyard and the “spring of the bobcat” in my trash; I’ve walked the Bio Park and seen a family of (5) coyote not more than ten feet from me; Have either a falcon or hawk that lives in my neighborhood and keeps the pigeons at minimum and a roadrunner that loves my birdbath; I’ve had to get help to remove a rattler that slithered its way into my garage and someone to get rid of the black widow and tarantula nests I’ve found in my xieroscaped yard. But what scared me the most, upset me the most; was helping to thwart several intruders/burglars in my neighborhood. All of this in my noisy crowded city? If all of this can happen here, what about the country?

I have been living alone for quite some time now and had done some research on security landscaping, which I implemented for my current urban home way back in the day. Now I am planning to retire and re-locate to a rural area in the next year. Add to this what I have experienced here in the city and my memories of my grandparent’s farm, not to mention me currently battling squirrels, chipmunks and scoundrels, while my rural friend’s battle deer, elk, moose and bear - I felt this subject warranted new research. After all I want not only myself, my family and friends, but my home, its contents, my animals and garden to be safe from four and two legged uninvited guests too. I at least want enough time to arm myself if need be.

So I decided to re-research this subject from the rural and older age perspective and I thought I would share what I have learned. I not only searched the web from landscaping to law enforcement to homesteading sites, I also talked to my area professional landscapers, law enforcement, friends and neighbors. Believe it or not, even Homeland Security has something on this subject. Go figure. Then I talked with my friends in Maine, upper Michigan, Tennessee, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Texas, Oregon and Arizona. Most of who are living the rural, if not “boonies” lifestyle.

I found one FBI statistic that stated that there is a home burglary every 15.4 seconds somewhere in the United States. Most burglaries occur during the day, when occupants are away. Most occur during July and August, with the fewest in February. Most burglars are young males, under 25 years old, looking for small items easily converted into cash. About 70% of burglars use some force to enter a building, but open doors and windows are of course preferred.

Intruders also look for no to few obstacles blocking quick exits, and public access on at least one side of a property fence. Homes next to schools, along drainage ditches, and near parks or similar venues are among the most vulnerable.

To avoid getting caught, the intruder’s ideal home is one they can get into and out of quickly, easily, and not be seen. Above all they are opportunists.

The next installment in this special series on security landscaping will be:

Security Landscaping-Part Two-The “3-7” Rule

CK, a 50 something, soon to be a rural homesteading Prepper.

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