It was of no surprise while the Coronavirus lockdown ensued burglaries like most crimes dramatically decreased, however since the reopening and semi normalisation of society has returned so have the criminals. As more and more of us are now working from home the burglars have changed tactics and are increasingly targeting our gardens. In this article we will explain the 4 core elements of your garden security and what you can do to deter criminals.
Your garden is actually one of the top targets for criminals as they are often easier to gain access to and contain valuable items which are easy to sell. This includes power tools, bikes, gardening tools, ornaments and furniture. These sorts of crimes are particularly prevalent in suburban areas which our locksmith in Dartford knows all too well as some burglars broke into his shed and stole some of his tools not too long ago.
Taking steps to beef up the security of your garden can decrease the risk of a burglary and possibly even reduce your insurance costs.
- Storage & Tidiness
Fencing – is the first line of your garden’s defence. Front and back gardens tend to have different rules which we will now explain.
If you have a front garden which leads onto a main road, it is usually recommended a small fence of around 4 foot (1.2 meters) is used. The reason for this is that it allows passers by and your neighbours to see the front of your property helping to deter criminals as they are in view of your whole neighbourhood.
For your back garden it is usually recommended a fence as high as possible is used which is around 6.5 feet (2 meters), as anything higher will usually require planning permission from your local authority. The bigger the fence the better as it will act as a barrier making it more difficult for burglars to enter your garden and escape with valuable goods. If you like a bit of gardening and have green fingers like myself you could always consider planting prickly plants which make it harder and painful for criminals to enter and exit your garden and act as a great deterrent. Such plants include Smilax Prickly ash (Zanthoxylum), Chaenomeles, Colletia, Rubus (bramble), Crataegus (including hawthorn/may), there are hundreds of different varieties in all manner of colours.
Some gardens do not have a gate so if you don’t, skip to the next section, but if you do a high quality lock is essential as criminals will often try to enter using the gate to gain entry. The type of lock you will require depends on how you use your gate. If you very rarely use your gate we recommend a simple bolt with a high security padlock, this does mean however you will not be able to gain entry using your garden. But on the other hand if you regularly use your gate to both enter and exit your property it is a good idea to use a long throw bar with a euro cylinder lock. These locks allow you to unlock and lock your gate from both internally and externally, just ensure the euro cylinder fitted is a high security model, with a British standard kitemark.
Lighting – Another essential component of garden security is lighting. Criminals are not too fond of lighting as it illuminates their shady activities. We recommend installing lights near all your accessible doors and windows. Lights will not only put the criminal in the limelight but will also give them less places to conceal themself and will not only illuminate their activities to yourself but also your neighbours. 2 types of lights are mainly used for garden security. The first are called dusk till dawn lights and turn on when the sun sets and natural light have all but disappeared. The second type of light used is based on motion and will automatically turn on when someone or something moves nearby. This is great as it will save on your electricity bill and will not disturb yourself or your neighbours and will give any criminal a little surprise when close. Furthermore to save energy we highly recommend purchasing LED lights which consume around 10% of the energy compared to their halogen counterparts.
Storage and Tidiness – Around 40% of burglaries are not planned and are mere crimes of opportunity. The takeaway from this is to never leave your valuable possessions on display. Power tools, gardening tools, bikes are all on the criminals wish list as they are easy to move and sell on. These items should be stored in your home, garage, outbuilding or shed. If you do store items in your shed or garage it is a good idea to obscure the windows to stop any opportunist thieves from seeing their contents. Larger items such as BBQs should be covered and chained to the floor or something else which is heavy and secured with a high security padlock.
This blog post was written by Callan Wells-Raynes at ITCC Locksmith London. A London based locksmith with branches in Birmingham & Manchester.