07/03/2018

March Crime Prevention Blog

March Crime Prevention Blog - By Crime Prevention & Architectural Liaison Officer Gerry McBride

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Break-ins to sheds and garages are on the increase across the Force area, so for my March blog I’d like to offer you some useful tips and advice to help keep your outbuildings safe and secure.

It’s surprising what we keep in these outbuildings, alcohol, foodstuffs in freezers, power tools, mowers, garden tools, bicycles and golf equipment are just some examples of expensive items that are left in sheds or garages. Some of the items stored here, could also be used to break into your home!

Whilst many of us take steps to protect our homes, and the property contained within them, we don’t always do all that we can to protect valuables, in these often flimsy outbuildings. Sheds and garages generally present thieves with easy pickings because the locks on these outbuildings are generally inferior to those on your home.

Remember! Most burglars want to be in and out as quickly as possible, so we need to frustrate them by making it as hard as possible.

Here are my top 10 tips to help to prevent you from becoming a victim of crime:

1. Keep sheds and garages locked at all times, even when you’re at home. Consider fitting an intruder alarm and additional good quality locking devices on external garage doors i.e. garage defender or similar. Look for the ‘Sold Secure’ logo on security products. Use bolts with nuts on the inside of the shed. Screws can easily be attacked or removed by thieves. Fit strong metal grilles to shed windows – securing them from the inside.
2. Don’t advertise to thieves the property that you keep in your shed and/or garage by limiting the amount of time the doors are open, and cover any windows to prevent items being seen from outside.
3. Secure items such as ladders, strimmers, lawn mowers and cycles by way of secure chains/wire ropes, fitted with a suitable lock to a fixed anchor point, and mark these valuables, using an engraver or paint with your postcode and house number. Don’t forget the garden furniture too! Keep an eye on your local neighbourhood police team page on Facebook, as they regularly hold property marking events in locations near you. They use a device call a ‘Dot Peen’, to permanently mark your valuable items.
4. Use dusk to dawn lighting to illuminate your property, particularly if you are overlooked.
5. Photograph valuable items and make a note of any distinguishing features.
6. Protect your boundaries with trellis atop of fences, defensive planting (prickly plants), walls, strong fences and gates.
7. Consider CCTV cameras to help protect your property. Fit these out of reach but not too high that they just record the tops of heads.
8. Don’t leave any garden tools lying around outside, as these can be used to break in to your garage or shed, or even your house! Secure those wheelie bins too, so as they don’t give a thief a handy ‘leg up’ to windows, or over fences and walls.
9. Consider a strong lockable steel box for your tools, and anchor this to the fabric of the building.
10. Check that your insurance policy covers the items that you want it to.

If you have any information about a crime, contact the police on 101 or you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.