Effective home security starts at the street;
that's where burglars often begin "casing" a house.
 
The appearance of your home from the street can either invite intruders or send them looking for easier pickings. Head to the curb for a burglar's eye view of your home.
 
Start by assessing the landscaping around your home. Overgrown or badly placed shrubs provide cover, and they obscure your view of approaches to the house. Tree branches near the house can provide a ladder of opportunity to upper-level windows or a sky-light. Even an unruly lawn which gives a nobody's-home look, can draw a thief's attention.
 
How easy is it to get to windows and doors? A Burglar will assess how quickly he can get in a out of a home. An unfenced backyard that opens on an alley or an attached garage that doesn't have windows visible from the street or a neighbor's house can make for undetected access and exit.
 
Fortunately, many of the solutions that make your house safer are simple. Start making your house less appealing to burglars by following these landscaping tips:
 
Pick up the yard and driveway regularly. Old papers piling up by the front door are a signal that the home's empty or that nobody uses the front door. Ladders, picnic tables, and lawn chairs can become steps to reach windows; store them out of sight when not in use.
 
Saw off branches close to the house or those that hang over the roof. And, on taller trees near the house, remove all limbs less than 7 feet from the ground to prevent anyone climbing them to access the second floor.
 
Cut back or remove tall shrubs near doors and walkways. The same goes for plantings that block the view to your windows, especially basement windows. Keep plantings trimmed to a height of 3 feet or shorter.
 
Use Gravel or pebbles under windows, and around sheds; it's noisy underfoot. And, plant low growing thorny bushes.
 
Clear the View to your neighbor's homes by trimming back bushes and trees. While you may enjoy your privacy, allowing your neighbors a clear view of the exterior of your house, especially it's doors and windows, is a smart security choice.