During these long winter nights, where there seems to be more darkness then daylight! it is very important to think about reviewing and improving your garden and shed security. If someone can get into your garden easily without attracting attention it will give them more time to steal from you.
Here are some top tips to make your garden your first line of defence against burglars.
Build a plan from the front line.
- Look at the approach to your property. Gravel on paths and driveways can act as an alert to someone coming towards your property
- Consider installing automated Driveway gates as a deterrent.
- Burglars love an area to hide and work behind, therefore Ideally any gates, fencing, walls and hedges at the front of your house should not be more than 1.2m (4ft) so the front of your property can be seen by passers-by.
- Look for spots where a thief could get into your garden, like a low/sagging fence or a back gate with a weak lock.
- If there is an access point to your garden at the side of your house a strong lockable gate will act as a deterrent. These gates should be at least the same height and strength as your fencing with hinges securely attached to the gateposts.
- Keep your Fences and gates in good repair with good quality locks to gates that cannot be reached from over the fence.
- Remember to always lock your gates! There is no point in investing in a great security plan if it fails due to proper attention.
Secure your back Garden
- A standard 1.8m (6ft) wall or fence at the back of your house is sufficient. Increase the height to 2m (6ft 6in) if there is public access on the other side – any higher than this will need planning permission.
- Trellis fixed to the top of a fence is not only decorative but can provide extra protection as it is difficult to climb over, breaking easily and noisily.
- Planting prickly plants or a hedge, such as firethorn, climbing rose or hawthorn, around the perimeter of your garden can be a powerful deterrent. These defensive plants are also very useful when placed close to vulnerable areas such as windows, fences, boundary walls and drainpipes.
- While working in your garden, make sure doors and windows are locked to stop unwanted visitors.
Make your Garden Shed and Gardening equipment secure.
- Secure garden furniture, wheelie bins, tools, gardening equipment and especially ladders so they cannot be used to gain access to your property. Keep them locked in a garage/shed or chained to a wall
- Take measures to secure your shed by using a closed shackle padlock or invest in an alarm.
- Do not leave or debris lying around in the garden as they could be used to smash windows.
- Mark your garden tools and equipment with your postcode using a UV pen or similar device. Make a note of the serial numbers on your equipment and consider taking photographs of the items stored in your shed so you have a record in case your shed is burgled.
Using properly fitted and well positioned external lighting outside your home can be an excellent deterrent to burglars and other unwelcome visitors.
- Lights should be placed high enough so that they can’t be reached easily and should be pointed down so they only shine on your property.
- Place one light by your door to allow you to clearly identify anyone who comes to your door.
- There are many different types to lighting available such us –
- Dusk ’til Dawn Lighting – this is the preferred method of externally lighting your home. The lamp stays on during the hours of darkness and goes off as it starts to get light.
- Timer Operated Lighting – can be programmed to switch on lights externally for set times.
- Manually Operated Lighting – allows you to switch on for short periods i.e., when someone is at the front door.
- Movement Sensor Operated Lighting – the most common form is a PIR (passive infra-red receiver) operated tungsten halogen lamp.
- Install dusk to dawn security lighting. The low energy lamp stays on in the dark and switches off when it starts to get light.
PC Rebecca Handy said:
“While many people take steps to protect their homes and the property inside them, they often leave valuable equipment such as power tools, mowers, garden tools and bikes in unsecured sheds or in sheds that are not strong or secure enough to protect the items from thieves.
“Garden crime is an unfortunate reality so we are advising people to look at how secure their garden is and if necessary make some adjustments to help ‘weed out’ garden thieves.”
Remember to also check your household insurance policy carefully to ensure it covers garden and shed equipment and whether any minimum security standards apply.
Lock up and enjoy your garden.
West Mercia Constabulary www.westmercia.police.uk