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Landscape Design Principles for Crime Prevention

Flowers planted around a rockStopping crime before it happens is an important goal for the City of Farmington Hills because the City believes that a safe community is a desirable community.  The Farmington Hills Police Department has established a Crime Prevention program, designed to help members of the community identify practical and meaningful methods to address safety concerns in their environments.  Often, the methods involve simply re-thinking the way we place things in the environment.

The City of Farmington Hills has encouraged, and in some cases required, the extensive use of plant material and screen walls in the built environment.  The City’s crime prevention effort has directed attention to the placement and maintenance of these elements so that they continue to enhance the environment but won’t compromise the safety of the people who live, work and play in and around them.

Below are some guidelines and suggestions to consider when designing new landscapes or preparing maintenance plans:
  1. Avoid planting evergreen shrubs beneath windows and around entranceways.  If evergreen shrubs are present already, prune then at the bottom to form ‘horseshoes’ so that objects or people can be seen beneath and behind them.
  2. Keep shrubs pruned to a height of not more than 4½ feet in height around entranceways and windows, where possible.
  3. If shrubs are planted beneath windows, consider planting shrubs that are ‘prickly’ or have thorns to discourage people from hiding behind them.
  4. Police officers in vehicles can patrol the City more efficiently and completely if they can see into developments from the street.  When designing landscapes, consider the following:
  • Solid walls are impenetrable.  Although they create privacy, they also create a security risk.  Use walls cautiously.  A see-through fence (i.e. wrought iron with decorative brick pillars) can provide the separation desired without blocking important views.
  • Trim the bottom branches of evergreen trees around doorways, carports and between public thoroughfares and parking lots.
  • Carports provide good protection for cars.  They also provide a great place for people to hide.  If carports are part of a development, make sure the inside of the carport can be seen from the street.
Should you have any questions regarding crime prevention, contact the Crime Prevention Division at the Farmington Hills Police Department (248) 871-2750.

Adopted June 4, 1998