As a property manager for any type of commercial property, the last thing that you want to deal with is vandalism. Whether it's a broken window, torn-up turf, graffiti, or any other form of property damage, vandalism creates nothing but hassles and headaches for you.
Plus, you know that your property value is hurting until you get the destruction from vandalism fixed. The crime that occurred on your property is now a visual eyesore and a constant reminder of what happened.
That’s why, ideally, you want to prevent this kind of trouble from even happening. While there is no 100 percent effective solution, there are crime prevention tactics that you can employ.
You might already have some of these in place with locked gates, security cameras, alarms, and such. But did you know that your landscaping can also play a role? Here are some ways in which landscaping can reduce vandalism on your commercial property.
How Does Landscaping Reduce Crime?
Landscaping can reduce crime in a number of different ways. In this article, we’ll talk about what landscaping elements make the biggest difference in deterring vandalism as well as how you can incorporate them.
#1: A Well-Lit Property is Naturally Safer
Nighttime lighting is often thought about in terms of navigating a space safely. The last thing that you want is for a walkway or a set of steps to become a trip and fall hazard because they were not well-lit at night.
However, there’s no question that a well-lit property is also safer and more effective at reducing crime, including vandalism.
Criminals and vandals don't want to get caught in the act. For that reason, they tend to focus more on poorly lit properties where they can sneak in and out without being seen.
Because of that, if your property is well-lit, it may stop crimes before they can even occur.
Good lighting is also important for your surveillance cameras. After all, your cameras are not going to be able to capture a crime in action if the property is too dark. But with enough light, your cameras will be able to pick up footage if a crime does occur.
#2: Keeping the Landscape Neat and Tidy can Deter Criminals
When thinking about how does landscaping reduce crime, you might be surprised to know that a neat and tidy property does more than just boost aesthetic appeal. It also could make your commercial site less of a target.
There are a few reasons why.
A Well-Maintained Property Demonstrates that Attention is Paid
For one, a well-cared for property looks like a more difficult target. A messy property tends to look like an easier target (as though there is less attention paid to detail).
That’s because an unkempt property gives the impression that people aren’t regularly caring for it and that there isn’t necessarily a close eye on it. In a worst case scenario, if your landscape has been unattended for a while, it could start to look like the property isn’t regularly visited or that people aren’t even there.
This was a problem during the height of the pandemic shutdowns, when people really weren’t physically present on commercial properties (particularly those with office complexes, medical buildings, or retail locations). But because property managers did not want their property to start looking abandoned, they knew it was important to keep up with regular maintenance.
This is more than just conjecture. A report from the University of Washington found that among minor crimes, there was less graffiti, littering, and vandalism in outdoor spaces with landscaping (as compared to those without).
A Well-Maintained Property Does Not Block Windows or Signage
Trimming back branches away from windows and doors, as well as keeping them from covering signs, can also be a crime deterrent. Again, it plays into the fact that an uncared for property looks neglected.
But it also has to do with the fact that a covered window or door might look easier to break into. Thieves might use the cover of overgrown trees or shrubs as a way to hide while vandalizing the property or even breaking in.
You also do not want your “No Trespassing,” “Private Property,” or “Do Not Enter” signs to be blocked by tree branches or overgrown shrubs. While we realize that signs like these may not always deter the most determined criminals, it still defeats the purpose of even having them if they are covered.
#3: Landscape Upgrades can Instill Community Pride and in turn, Deter Crime
Finally, the commercial property that is continually upgraded and cared for can instill a sense of community pride. Whether you’re a commercial property where tenants lease space, you’re an HOA where residents live, or you’re a hotel where guests visit, you want people to be proud of the outdoor areas.
This tends to bring people outdoors much more often and use the outdoor spaces (which alone will reduce the chance of vandalism). It also makes these spaces feel safer. And as people become more committed to using these outdoor areas (and they come to really appreciate them), their respect and care for the property can potentially play a role in deterring crime, too.
Residents might be more interested in creating a neighborhood watch group or doing what they can to have a part in deterring crime. The more community pride that people have in the property as a whole, the more they’ll take it to heart that they don’t want to see anything happen to it.
What to Do if Vandalism has already Occurred
Hopefully this gives you some ideas in terms of how landscaping can help reduce vandalism on your commercial property.
However, we recognize that sometimes these things do happen, even if you’ve taken steps to be cautious.
That’s why we also wanted to briefly talk about what to do if your commercial property has already been vandalized.
Take Action Quickly
It is our recommendation that you take action as quickly as possible if you've been the victim of vandalism. That’s because, as we mentioned early on, these crimes can reduce property value or create a sense of uneasiness.
If someone has driven through the turf or caused some sort of destruction to the property, we recommend that you get it fixed swiftly. It will be helpful to build these “emergency costs” into the budget so that you can be quick in replacing or repairing the damage.
But Make Sure All Your Legal Bases are Covered
Of course, you should make sure that everything is legally taken care of including filing police reports and letting them take their necessary steps. Also, find out whether your insurance company needs photographs (or what else they may require) before you make any repairs.
You just want to be as fast as you can, without causing yourself more hassles or headaches. We believe the longer a property sits with vandalism, the more susceptible it may be to future crimes.
Discuss Future Changes
As you get everything fixed up, take the opportunity to discuss preventive action that may be able to be taken in the future. You may have been looking into does landscaping reduce crime because you’ve already been the victim of vandalism. By making some positive changes in your landscaping, you can hopefully deter future problems.
Partnering With Yellowstone Landscape
At Yellowstone Landscape, we understand how important your commercial property is and how vital it is that you continue to protect it. We’re here to work with you in any way that will help you to feel safer and less likely to be a victim of property vandalism.
While we know not every incident can be prevented, we also believe that the more diligent you are about keeping your property neat and tidy, the more pride your community will take in it, and the less likely you will be to experience problems.
At the end of the day, we want you to have peace of mind that your landscape is doing all of the work for you that it ought to be doing. That includes making people happy and giving them beautiful outdoor spaces to enjoy. But it also means playing a role in deterring problems like vandalism.
We want to do everything that we can to help with that effort.
Are you ready to feel confident in making a wise choice for a partner in commercial landscaping? Request a consultation today. We’ll meet to learn more about your property and its challenges and come up with a comprehensive plan to take care of all of the details for you.