Crime Prevention Advice
Garden related crime
With the approach of longer
For crime reduction practitioners it is often
With lighter nights and the desire to be
Identifying hot spot areas or particular methods of
break-in may allow an area-wide solution to be devised,
or at least targeted displays in local libraries or
community centres. It may be possible to identify
specific design problems such as a particular type of
garage door � this requires good, accurate record
keeping if it is to be identified early on.
As visits to garden centres and DIY stores increase,
displays at these venues may have some effect, together
with leaflets and presentations to relevant clubs and
organisations. Many crime reduction groups have worked
with garden centres to produce leaflets with basic
advice and details of recommended shrubs to make gardens
less inviting to an intruder. If you invest time
in these activities, are there any mechanisms you can
use to test the level of response?
Neighbourhood Watch has a role to play in reminding
its members and local residents that they are putting
themselves at risk if they do not secure their sheds as
well as their homes. Neighbourhood Watch and other
community groups may also be able to help the less able
members of the community to clear or maintain their
gardens and so avoid creating hiding places for thieves.
Landlords may also have a role here.
Cycle theft is prevalent everywhere not just from
sheds and garages. Providing secure cycle parking
together with campaigns to remind cyclists not to leave
bikes unlocked and to mark their cycles may have an
impact on crime figures.
Sold Secure, which assesses security products, has
introduced a specification SS 301 – Specification for
Mechanical Security Systems for Domestic Buildings.
This specification is a �catch all� document
designed to allow certification of good quality domestic
security products such as shed security and garage door
locks. Originally focusing on vehicle security products,
Sold Secure now covers cycles, caravans, padlocks and
domestic security to give consumers access to products
that have been tested.
So, what advice can you give to people?
As individuals, are they giving potential thieves the
opportunity they need to steal from them? Ask the
following questions and encourage people to take action
before they become victims of thieves. Whilst much of
this is common sense, it is often necessary to remind
people that simple things can make all the difference.
If someone can get into your garden easily without
attracting suspicion, it gives them more time to steal
Are your fences and gates in good repair?
Do you have security lighting?
Low energy dusk to dawn lighting is environmentally
friendly and cheap to run. (9 watt lighting to
the front and 11 or 16 watt lighting for the side
Do you leave things outside all year (ornaments,
furniture, tools) which could be removed easily or
used to break into your house?
Secure them in position or fill with heavy gravel to
prevent easy carrying.
Are there overgrown areas where someone could
Cut it back so you can see what’s going on. Gravel
on paths and driveways can alert you to someone
approaching so intruders will not be so keen.
Prickly plants and trellis can provide extra
protection from the intruder.
Sheds and outbuildings
Without realising it, you probably have a lot of
valuable property in your sheds and outbuildings and you
don�t pay as much attention to security as you should.
Power tools, lawnmowers, cycles, golf clubs etc are all
expensive to replace and attractive to thieves.
Has your shed survived the winter without damage
which could help a thief gain access?
If not, don�t delay � FIX it now!
Are your doors secure?
Shed doors are notoriously easy to get into so
strengthen the door and frame if you can. Outside
door hinges should be secured with coach bolts or
non-return screws. Use strong padbars and close
shackle padlocks. Up and over garage doors can be
secured by putting padlocks through the inside
runners or by fitting padlocks with a hasp and
staple on either side of the door. There are other
effective devices available which stop the door
being lifted. 5 lever mortice locks are the best on
normal solid doors.
Are windows secure? Is the glass cracked but you
haven�t got round to replacing it? You could use
Perspex or polycarbonate sheet if well fixed. Use a
window lock on opening windows and a strong grille
or heavy wire mesh. Consider using net curtains to
deter casual viewing.
Use an alarm � battery operated alarms may act
as a deterrent. If you have a house alarm, you could
have it upgraded to include your shed or garage. If
the garage is an integral part of your house, make
sure the alarm conforms to BS 4737.
If the garage is linked to your house, is the
connecting door as well protected as the main door?
If not, upgrade the door security now!
Check what you keep in the shed.
Does your insurance cover the shed and garage and
all the equipment you store there?
Is everything post-coded so that you could
identify it if it was stolen?
Most items can be post-coded by a variety of methods
(etching, branding, paint stencilling etc) and
easily identifiable items will make them more
difficult for a thief to dispose of and therefore
less likely to take in the first place.
Do you have a note of serial numbers? Have you
photographed any valuable items and put the photos
Do you secure property within the shed? So that
even if someone did break into it, they would not
just be able to walk off with all your valuable
Chain cycles, mowers, ladders and tools to a strong
anchor point such as metal rings fixed in concrete
to the floor � use a close shackle padlock.
As sheds are not designed for safe storage, would
it be better to have a strong lockable box or cage
inside your shed – preferably fixed to the floor?
Ask your neighbours to keep their eye on your
shed as well as the house and do the same for them
in return. If you�ve hidden your shed so it can�t
be seen, cut down some foliage so you�re not
providing cover for a thief.
When you�ve made your garden, shed or any
outbuildings more secure, remember to lock things
away every time. It only takes a minute to pick
something up and walk off, so don�t be tempted to
leave everything out while you go inside for a cup
of tea. And NEVER leave cycles unlocked.
Further information about property
Last update: 3 March 2004