It is imperative that you take steps to protect your home against burglary and prevent yourself from suffering the impact of being burgled. There are a few simple steps you can take that can significantly reduce the risk of this happening to you. The following information contains essential reading to guide you in taking the right action.
1 in 3 break-ins that take place in the spring and summer months and entry is often gained through insecure windows and doors, especially at the rear of the property.
As the darker evenings draw in, burglars are on the prowl. If you leave your home in complete darkness, your curtains not drawn, and no car is on the drive, it’s an obvious sign to an opportunist burglar that no-one is in. At this time of the year it pays to secure your home. There are a number of simple ways to do this, all of which will help reduce the chance of your home becoming the next target.
Distraction Burglary and Bogus callers
Distraction burglary is where criminals call at your house posing as officials or asking for your help with something. They make up a story to get into your home and will generally target older people. Remember ‘Not Sure? Don’t open the door!’
Garages and sheds are often full of expensive tools to steal or use to break into the house. Do not leave a garage or garden shed unlocked, especially if it has a connecting door to the house. Fit strong padlocks and hardware to shed and garage doors. Make sure that the doors are solid enough not to be kicked in.
Often the first line of defence for your property is the garden fence, wall or hedge. Prevent easy access to the back and sides of your home by locking gates and erecting 2 metre minimum height fencing or walls. Trellis topping also makes climbing difficult. Burglars often want to gain access at the rear of the property where they are less likely to be seen.
Some domestic garage doors, particularly the up and over type, have proven to be relatively easy to force open by criminals using bodily pressure (simply pushing the door open), use of a small bar or similar implement to prise open the locking point or the side of the door or by breaking the actual door handle itself thereby releasing the lock.
To reduce your chance of becoming a victim of such a crime it is advisable to fit additional security to these doors to make unlawful entry more difficult and to help deter any would-be criminal.
There are a number of options available to secure the doors depending on whether the garage has an internal door giving access into the house. These include fitting bolts or hasp and staple with padlocks to the top or bottom corners of the door either externally or internally, a ‘T’ bar type lock secured to the ground externally, a padlock restrictor again fitted externally, garage mortice locks which can be key operated from both sides of the door or padlocks on internal runners.
Standalone alarms can also be purchased for use in garages. Most are battery powered and nearly all employ a passive infra-red movement or heat detector. If triggered they operate a sounder making it very unpleasant for the offender to be in the area and to alert you or your neighbours. If your garage gives access to your house it is also advisable to consider fitting additional security for the internal door. This could include for example the fitting of mortice bolts to the top and bottom of the door.
Tips on how to improve security:
- Keep your shed in good condition
- Fit a closed shackle padlock to the door
- Fittings should be bolted through the door and any screws concealed
- It is easy to unscrew the ironmongery, steal contents and in some cases replace the screws to make it look as if the shed has not been tampered with
- By using tamper proof screws or coach bolts, together with a good quality pad bar or hasp and staple and close shackled padlock, the shed owner will make it harder for the would-be thief.
- Bond any window glass in with mastic to prevent easy removal. Fit grilles or mesh to windows to slow down the thief.
- Ensure all equipment and tools are locked away when not in use
- Install a shed alarm
- Post-code or mark all property such as lawnmowers, bikes, and tools using ultraviolet pens, forensic marking such as Selecta DNA, Smartwater or engravers.
- Install security lighting as a deterrent, and plants such as thorny shrubs to act as a barrier at potential access points
- If building a shed, put it where it is most visible to you and neighbours
- Ensure ladders are locked to a secure fixture in the shed or garage so they can’t be used to reach top floor windows
- Chain large items such as bicycles together, making it much more difficult for a thief to carry away
- Fit a wire cage inside the shed where more expensive items can be locked away.
Thames Valley Police offer further information on non-residential burglary.
Last Updated: 12 November 2018