As the nights draw in and seasonal festivities approach, we’ll all routinely run through security checks before heading outdoors. Windows – check, doors – check, alarm system – check… the majority of us do not consider implementing outdoor security. After all, what will a burglar steal from the garden? But, this is exactly the presumption a burglar takes advantage of, with a recent SunLife study declaring garden thieves strike every 43 seconds.
Many of us are under the presumption that our outdoor items are safe, assuming a burglar would, at most, use the back door or garden to gain entry to the home itself. But take a moment to assess what have in your garden; outdoor furniture, garden equipment, bikes, toys and a barbecue, to name just a few. Individually, these items may not be of detrimental value, but when combined, the value can add up, with a recent study noting the average garden holds about £2,000 worth of goods. These standard items are often mass produced and harder to trace back, making it even more appealing for a burglar. The oddity of reporting the garden gnome or planters, a burglar’s favourite, missing is actually what this opportunist is taking advantage of. Not forgetting any outbuildings that may hold valuable or even specialist equipment.
For the low-risk opportunist, the garden is an easy target; it is not alarmed and all items are quite easy to get to. So while each individual item may not be of significant value – the ease, lower risk rate and speedy get away, make this a more appealing option for burglars.
All it takes to keep our garden secure is to remain conscientious. As part of National Home Security Month, we’ve put together our top 10 tips to help you keep your garden secure.
Many of us just shut the garden gate, and if we do have locks, they are likely to be rusty due to exposure to the weather. This will be a burglar’s key entry point so it is worth checking your lock and maintaining its condition.
Ensure you lock the shed
This will probably be the first target, as the cost of tools, lawnmowers and other garden equipment can quite quickly add up.
Secure your outbuildings
More and more of us are investing in outbuildings and garden cabins as an additional form of living space. They often double up as studios, games rooms and home offices, so can hold some very valuable items. If you do hold your valuable items here overnight, it may be worth investing in security lights around the outbuilding itself. You may also consider investing in an alarm or connecting it your existing one.
Bikes have long remained popular with thieves, with statistics indicating more than 50 bikes are stolen each day. So don’t give burglars an easy ride!
Invest in outdoor security lights
Creating lighter outdoor spaces will immediately put off a potential intruder as they know they are at greater risk. Outdoor lights come in many varieties; sensor controlled and with timers, so it is worth exploring your options. Sensor controlled lights are particularly worthwhile as they will alert you instantly.
Store your garden tools and valuables
It is easy to leave small garden tools out for the night, thinking they will prompt you to continue with your garden tasks tomorrow. But more than 21,000 tools are stolen every year, as they are such an easy pick for burglars; light to carry and not easily traced.
Gravel is noisy and disruptive, so a driveway full of gravel will certainly make intruders think twice about sneaking around.
Climbing over fences and shrubs could be an additional entry point for an intruder’s attempt to enter your garden. Try to make things difficult for them by not trimming hedges too low, or maybe adding trellises to the top of fencing. You could even line small plants pots along the wall to create an additional obstruction.
Secure large furnishings
Large garden furnishings are not easy to disassemble or store, so try anchoring them down so they remain fixed and can’t be quickly carried away.
Mark valuable items, such as furniture and ornaments, with your postcode and house number. Outdoor items can easily be painted or etched onto making them easy to spot, so often less tempting to steal.
For many of us, garden security is never a top priority, possibly because the items do not hold much sentimental value. But with just a few subtle changes it is certainly worth investing time to make your home and garden safe.