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Trim your hedge to reduce the chance of burglary

2020 and 2021 saw millions of Brits in lockdown turn their attention to garden improvements to keep busy during the pandemic. Addressing uncared-for areas in the exterior parts of their properties provided tidier spaces to enjoy fresh air when they were being advised to stay at home. While this trend has continued this year, home security experts are now urging households to care for their hedges to mitigate potential burglaries.

Having a wall of shrubbery forming a boundary about a property can cut down on pollution and noise while delivering privacy from passers-by. However, according to the UK’s independent crime-fighting organisation Crimestoppers hedges can also be exploited by burglars.

Official advice issued by the not-for-profit states that having a tall hedge at the rear and a lower hedge at the front is the best combination. A higher hedge at the back of a property can form a physical deterrent to unwanted trespassers. Hedges of six feet or more an ideal option for those who seek to discourage attempted intrusion. Additionally, these hedges should be kept dense and thorny to further deter criminal activities.

Suitable species suggested for home hedges seeking by horticulturalists include Rose Glow, Blackthorn, Firethorn, and the holly bush for their prickly properties.

According to Crimestoppers, a lower hedge of around three feet in height is preferable for the front of residences. The organisation pointed out that a key feature that makes homes a perfect target for criminals is when they offer them the opportunity to attempt access without being seen.

While a higher hedge may ensure that no one can peer into your property it can also equip burglars with just the cover they need to force an entry, unseen by your neighbours. The advice from Crimestoppers follows results from a survey commissioned by John Lewis Home Insurance.

A total of 1,000 households were polled and results showed that over two-thirds of respondents had a front hedge that exceeded three feet in height with close to a third keeping theirs at twice this height and in some cases, even taller.

Commenting on the statistics, John Lewis Home Insurance head, James Barwell, stated that the report had revealed a lack of awareness among homeowners regarding the best hedge height to deter burglars. The results indicated that many homeowners erroneously believed that a high front hedge would discourage criminal behaviour when such an approach will instead have the opposite effect.

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