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Home Security: Safeguard Your Yard

Understanding how a burglar selects a target can help homeowners reduce their chances of being a victim. Most burglaries occur at homes that appear to have quick, easy access and/or lots of cover that reduces the chance of being seen. Think of landscaping and exterior security devices as your first line of defense. Following are tips to safeguard your yard.


  • Use automatic timers on inside and outside lights when away from home.

  • Install motion detector lights around your house instead of just leaving lights on at night. The lights coming on and turning off attract the attention of neighbors. Install these lights at least 8 feet above the ground so they are more difficult to disable.

  • Install the motion detector lights so they light all doors and windows. Doors, since they are the preferred entry point, should be the first priority to illuminate, followed by windows.

    Yard and Landscaping

  • Remove bushes and shrubs from around the house, especially under windows and next to doors. They provide a good place to hide next to the house. Also, keep your yard free of overgrowth. This will allow your neighbors to easily detect strangers in your yard.

  • If you do have shrubs and bushes, select ones with thorns to deter potential intruders from hiding in them.

  • Remove tree limbs that could allow someone to climb to an upper-story window or balcony.

  • Think carefully before installing a high, wooden fence around your back yard. High fences can add to your privacy but privacy is a burglar's asset. Consider an iron railing (topped with spikes, to discourage climbers), picket or chain-link fence instead. If you have a gate, install a strong magnetic lock on it to prevent intruders from easily penetrating the perimeter of your property.

  • Put big, bold numbers on your mailbox so your home can easily be identified in case of an emergency.

  • Never put your name on your mailbox. Anyone can call directory assistance, get your number, and find out you aren't home.

  • Don't hide a spare key near your front door; burglars know all the hiding places. Leave a spare key with a trusted neighbor instead.

  • Tell burglars to steer clear of your home by placing alarm company signs, neighborhood watch decals or dog notices on your property.

  • Consider installing an intercom system featuring motion-sensor video that turns on when someone approaches your house. If you live on your own, consider implementing a camera bell so you can see who is approaching.

  • If you have video surveillance cameras, get a lockbox to store the central recording device so a thief can't make off with the record of their crime.

  • Baby video monitors can double as surveillance monitors for other points on your property.

  • If you travel a lot, surveillance cameras (with viewing access through the Internet) will allow you to keep an eye on your home while you're gone.

  • Lock up the garage or tool shed. Don’t let a burglar break-in by borrowing your ladder to enter through your upstairs window.

    Hilary Basile is a writer for The network of sites is the ultimate guide to the USA. Individual portals offer valuable tips and resources for dealing with life’s major events. Find home improvement and home safety tips and resources at