Jeff Humphrey

Landscaping Cuts Crime Out of Neighborhoods

Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.625.6308

Monday, November 2, 2020 at 2:52 p.m.

Mike Bemel loves gardening, but his well- appointed yard has outgrown Mike’s landscaping abilities.

“I couldn’t possibly get it done any more. The calendar is still unforgiving,” said Bemel, who now walks with the help of a cane.

Over the years, untamed trees and shrubs have obscured Mike’s home, making it an attractive target for crime.

Now, volunteers from Spokane C.O.P.S. and the LDS Church want to bushwhack could be hiding spots for burglars.

“With a covered bush, a person could come back here and feel they could do whatever they want and not be seen. But when you clear this out completely, they won’t feel comfortable because they can been seen,” explained Neighborhood Resource Officer Jake Willard.

In a more clear cut example of what’s called Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design” or CPTED, Officer Willard wants to talk to the owner of a home on Funk Avenue about trimming back the junipers that shield his front door and windows.

“If you want to do it as an example, you can come out into the street and I’ll stand over by the bush, and it’ll be in the middle of the day and you would’nt know I’m standing here. So if I were a burglar, I’d pick this place as opposed to that place where it’s totally open,” Willard said as the shoulder-high junipers concealed his location.

Back at Mike’s house, volunteers are limbing - up the brush that could conceal porch pirates and mail thieves.

“CPTED is a phenomenal concept and in terms of bang for your buck, I think it’s one of the best things you can do to minimize your risk of being a victim,” said Patrick Striker, Executive Director of Spokane C.O.P.S.

In all, the crew removed 780 pounds of brush with missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter - day Saints doing most of the heavy lifting.

“We’ve used the LDS missionaries a few times, for several C.O.P.S. projects, and they’re just dynamite kids, dynamite workers and ultimately, it’s just about the community coming together and helping out,” added Striker.

“No question, the visibility has improved dramatically. The invitation to come in and burgle isn’t as open as it used to be,” Bemel said of the changes.

For more information about getting a free Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design evaluation, contact your Neighborhood Resource Officer or C.O.P.S police substation.

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