Bars on the windows, eight-foot perimeter walls and huge, snarling dogs don’t exactly say: Welcome to my home! However, when you live in a big city like Chicago or Baltimore, you want to make sure your home is secure against any and all outside threats. Fortunately, there is a way to dissuade home invaders and other attackers without styling your home like a penitentiary. Here are a few tips to help you feel more secure and enjoy a well-designed space.

Keep Your Landscaping Trimmed

An overgrown lawn and broken tree limbs are good signs that a home isn’t cared for, meaning it’s likely an easy target for theft. At minimum, you should keep your yard well-maintained, perhaps hiring a professional yard care service to prune the plants every month or so.

However, an even better security strategy is to alter your landscaping to remove features that obscure entry points to your home. Criminals prefer to break into houses with trees and shrubs that cover doors and windows because it is less likely that neighbors or people on the street will witness their crime. Generally, the more open to view you can make your home, the less likely you are to get hit.

Illuminate, Illuminate

The same line of thinking holds true with light. Well-illuminated properties are less desirable to crooks, who want to sneak around unseen in the shadows. Shining lights on your landscaping is a good way to tell potential thieves to move along. Fortunately, there are many attractive ways to illuminate your home’s exterior, including:

  • Up-lighting. Shining lights up onto your home from below provides ample illumination as well as visual drama.
  • String lights. For a whimsical look, hang string lights near your entryways or around outdoor entertainment spaces. You can also place string lights along your fence or as a boundary to different parts of your yard.
  • Path lighting. It’s a good idea to bring light to pathways. You can do this with lanterns stuck into the soil around the path, rope lights on the path’s edges or some other lighting trick.

If you rarely are home before it gets dark, you might want to make it seem like you’re home using lights on timers. When lights are on inside a home, burglars are less likely to attempt an invasion due to the risks of confrontation.

Don’t Flaunt Your Wealth

Contrary to popular belief, thieves rarely have a code of honor; they’ll hit whatever house seems easiest and snag whatever property seems valuable, regardless of whether that property is in a poor part of town or a rich one. Regardless, it isn’t a good idea to boast about your money or possessions to anyone in any way. For example, parking a luxury vehicle on the street outside your house is like placing a sign that says: “Rich people live here; valuables inside.” It’s smarter to hide your high-end car inside a garage, where passers-by can’t see its make and mark you as a possible target.

It’s not a crime to be wealthy, but that doesn’t mean it’s wise or in good taste to show off your privilege. If you can’t afford to properly protect your property, you should keep your wealth close to your chest — or better yet, away from your home in a safety deposit box or similar space.

Invest in Professional Security

Especially when you live in a potentially dangerous urban area like Washington, D.C., Detroit, Memphis or Baltimore, professional security services are a must. While you can acquire your own smart security tools, like locks, cameras and lights that are controlled by your smartphone, you shouldn’t trust that you can set them up appropriately to protect your property. Perhaps even more importantly, when you use self-monitored tools like smart security, you are responsible for maintaining vigilance over your property, which you likely aren’t able to do 24/7.

Professional security firms know where to install security devices to ensure they effectively ward off potential invaders without giving your home the look of a closely monitored prison. Still, security firms take responsibility for keeping your property safe. You can assemble the exact security services you desire, from alarms on windows and doors to cameras to random security guard drive-bys. Compare your security options to find a provider that suits your needs.

You don’t have to live like you’re in lock-down. Even in dangerous parts of the country, it’s possible to enjoy a sense of security without keeping yourself behind heavy lock and key. By properly tending your landscape and avoiding drawing unwanted attention to yourself or your property, you should be able to stay safe.