November Crime Prevention Blog

Use defensive shrubs to keep burglars at bay! By Crime Prevention & Architectural Liaison Officer Gerry McBride


Security of your home starts at the perimeter, and a prickly hedge can be your first line of defence. Defensive shrubs have been used for hundreds of years. These natural barriers are fabulous at keeping unwanted visitors from your property.

Most burglars will take the easiest path to burgle a property; therefore, if you can put obstacles in the way, you can put them off completely.

We use the term ‘Defensive Planting’ to describe the way you can use certain prickly plants, bushes and shrubs to deter burglars. Think about using defensive planting around vulnerable areas such as windows, fences, boundary walls and drainpipes.

This green leafed security measure, which can add colour and texture to any garden, can also provide shelter and food to a variety of wildlife. Defensive planting isn’t meant to replace, but to complement other security measures, such as lighting, locks and alarms.

There are many varieties to consider, I’ve listed just a few of these below.

Pyracantha – which looks attractive, berries come in a range of colours and it can be trained along walls and fences.
Berberis – which come in a number of varieties, generally easy to cultivate, tough, and many of the species produce good autumn colour.
Holly – Slow growing, it has the ability to adapt to a wide variety of different conditions.
Rose bushes – This traditional shrub brings beauty to any garden, they will generally thrive in the sun or in partial shade.

Whilst these plants will take some time to grow, the end result will pay dividends in the long run. They should deter even the most determined burglar!

If you have any contenders for our prickly plant gallery please get in touch You can plant these now! Ask for further advice at your local garden centres.
Remember! Prickly plants rip burglars pants!