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  • Writer's pictureOmar Pathare


Updated: Jun 27, 2021

Trees and vegetation can offer the first line of defence against potential criminals. Apart from giving health benefits, trees and plants can become VALUE-FOR-MONEY SECURITY TOOLS with the help of a Security Consultant’s expert advice

Lush green trees, long cool shadows of leafy umbrellas…. these very words make your mind go into a cool and comfortable place where you feel secure and want to relax away from the punishing sunlight. In these environs along with earthy and flowery smells and the natural orchestra of chirping birds, a person definitely feels more rejuvenated than any spa or artificial mind relaxation methods.

But, did you know that these silent sentinels of nature offer one the first lines of defence from potential intruders and criminals?!

Foliage restricts the clear view that criminals require

Any person would like to have a clear field of view of the route to his destination. It helps him orient himself easily, navigate effortlessly and reach an unfamiliar destination easily. Having to look through a thick foliage without causing alarm is a very difficult process to achieve without attracting attention. Apart from beauty, these trees and plants offer they also provide a resilient and sometimes brutal barriers to potential trespassers. To enhance this quality of the ‘wooded watchmen’, it is imperative to have the knowledge of one’s property and which all plants are useful in securing their premises.

Treelines or hedge lines increase the line of sight of a person by increasing the distance between him and the place or object he wishes to examine from a safe distance where he is not exposed. This does not allow him to understand the activities going on beyond the tree or bush lines.

Darkness, weather conditions, and possibility of injury act as restrictive measures

Any person needs a straight line of sight to distinguish a particular living being or a particular object or activity clearly. The natural growth of foliage obstructs this process to a great length. The sighting becomes even more difficult if the foliage is dense, if the foliage is swaying in the winds, or is heavily laden with rainwater. When night falls, these trees become even more useful, as they do not allow light from within the secured zone to filter into the street, making it almost impossible for a criminal to see what/who is inside.

The natural movement of trees to weather conditions like winds and rain gives irregular and incomplete views of the secured zone, thereby denying an accurate estimation of the activity going on within the secured zone to the criminal.

The prospect of crossing a hedge line comes with a risk of injury to the criminal. He cannot estimate how a particular twig, leaf or thorn will hurt him whole trying to cross over a natural vegetation barrier. This lack of knowledge proves to be a good disruptor to the criminal’s evil intent. No criminal wants to engage in an activity which will cause him bodily harm. This acts as an effective deterrent in his mind in his initial planning of the crime.

Huge variety of trees, plants, bushes to be explored for safety & security

The beauty of plants is that there is a huge variety in terms of shapes, sizes, girth and expanse to which they can grow. They can be carefully chosen and made to grow as per the planter’s wishes. Landscaping with trees and bushes offers you squares, rectangles, cones, domes, along with tall walls, short, thick shrubbery, fanned out leaf spreads or densely knitted foliage. Wooden struts or metal meshes allow a gardener to weave them into shapes and sizes of humans and animals too. The right placement of these plants and the shapes and sizes to which they grow deny straight lines of observation to any person who wishes to see any object or place which is located behind it. To gain better visibility, one will have to go over it or under it and at times through it to see the place or object beyond.

How can nature be used to secure your space?

Vegetation greatly helps the owner of a space to etch out his secure zones. The owner has the onus to create defensible spaces on his property. The placement and the type of vegetation used will help the owner to:

a) to effectively mark out his personal property distinguishing clearly between private and public space.

b) The owner from within can decide which all portions of the public space he wishes to see clearly from within his secured space.

c) The owner can decide which portions of his secured space should be denied clear observation from the public space beyond his property boundary.

d) The owner holds the advantage of all-round observation from his property and can identify any suspicious or criminal activity which is going on along his property boundaries.

e) Any intrusion into this private space can be immediately detected if line and pattern of shrubbery planted is disturbed by any unwanted intruder.

Nature gives us a lot of life serving things in abundance and to this end it also becomes a protector to the assets which a man creates for his personal well-being. If tended and grown properly they become a formidable guardian of the property of the man who tends it well and nurtures it as ‘Green Warrior’.

How can FORTIFY SECURITY CONSULTING help use landscaping as a security tool?

FORTIFY SECURITY CONSULTING helps property owners in selecting the right mix of shrubs and trees and planning their siting which effectively denies any observation and physical intrusion into their owned premises. Fortify ensures that they also give a good defensible space to the home owner to create credible deterrence and denial against criminal elements by ensuring proper layout of the vegetation to the advantage of the home owner.

- Lt. Col. Omar S Pathare (retd), Founder – FORTIFY SECURITY CONSULTING

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