INDIANAPOLIS — Preventing crime in your neighborhood could be as simple as how tall your bushes are or where you hang up lights. 

It’s called Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) and it could make a big difference in keeping your community safe. A lot of the focus is on items you probably wouldn’t think twice about like lights, bushes and stoplight boxes.

“If we can prevent the opportunities, if we can make it so that way people don’t even feel like that’s an option for them, that’s ideal,” Lt. Shane Foley with IMPD said.

Through its CPTED program, IMPD wants to make sure criminals aren’t taking advantage of some of those items.

Residents and businesses can request a CPTED-trained officer to do a walk-through of your property and give tips on changes that can be made in the interest of safety.

One of the main focuses of the program is bushes and trees.

“Shrubs should be lower that way people can’t hide behind them,” Lt. Foley said. “The [tree] canopy should be higher so if someone was walking you could see their face so that you could see someone approaching.”

Foley said lighting is another big thing officers often see.

“Sometimes people think that more lighting is always better, but the placement of the lighting is really important,” Foley said.

Foley said lighting shining into a window can prevent people from being able to see outside. Lights over trees can create shadows where people can hide instead of allowing light underneath.

Even signs such as “No Trespassing” or “Security Cameras In Use” can make a difference, according to Foley.

“Just the idea that you could be being watched let’s potential criminal know that maybe this is not an area that I’m going to committ crime in,” Foley said.

Another element of the CPTED theory is neighborhood beautification. Foley used painted stoplight boxes as an example.

“It tells people who are coming through that area that the neighborhood that the people who live and work and visit in that area care about the neighborhood and they care about the upkeep,” Foley said.

While IMPD said random attacks on the street are rare, they can still happen and there are simple changes that can help prevent them.

If you’re interested in having a CPTED evaluation done on your home, you can contact your IMPD district office and request an inspection.