Shed Security - Cambridgeshire Constabulary advice
Cambridgeshire Constabulary recently asked us to take part in their Community Safety Partnership. As part of this crime prevention initiative it was agreed that we would give free brochures about shed security to our customers. In addition, brochures were left inside our display sheds for the benefit of browsers. Their advice is reproduced word for word below:
Garden sheds tend to be places where people store items which may not be used for some time or they may be used regularly to store bicycles but in either case the shed and property is often left insecure. The value of gardening equipment, garden furniture and cycles is usually considerably under estimated. Burglary of sheds and theft of garden equipment is on the increase, so please try to ensure that you do not become a victim. By taking positive preventative measures you can improve the security of your shed and garden.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Do not make yourself an easy target by leaving garden equipment lying around and by leaving your shed insecure.
Fit a good quality lock to the shed door. The fittings should be bolted through the door and reinforced at the back with a steel plate. The hasp should have concealed screws. The padlock should be hardened steel of the close shackle type.
Once the door has been secured don't forget the window. Fit an integral mesh grille or curtains to stop opportunist thieves from looking in.
Most shed door hinges are exposed and can easily be removed by taking out the screws. Replace ordinary screws with non-return screws or coach bolts, or for even better security use strap hinges secured by coach bolts.
Fit an anchor point to the shed floor using one way security screws. This will allow you to use a heavy duty security chain or cable to link items then secure with a quality padlock.
All of the property in your shed and for that matter your house should be marked with your postcode and house number, to make it identifiable as yours. This can be achieved in a number of ways, from engraving to paint pens. UV marker pens are cost effective and can be purchased from local stationary suppliers as well as from your local Community Safety Unit.
Any lighting installed around your property should serve to reassure you and not to annoy your neighbours. Make sure that lights are properly adjusted to cover only your property. Dawn to dusk and PIR activated lights can be used to afford good levels of protection.
The importance of preventing prowlers accessing your garden is obvious. No-one wants to live with a back garden that resembles a high security compound with barbed wire and high fencing but your garden should be enclosed to make it secure. Fences and hedges should be maintained in good order. Make sure that any gates that give access to rear gardens are the same height as any adjacent fence or hedge and that they are fitted with a good quality lock to prevent any unauthorized access. Fence toppings can be fitted to avoid climbing over. Fit trellis work which is more fragile than the fence structure itself.
Growing dense or prickly plants along the fence, around drain pipes and under ground floor windows is an effective visual and physical barrier. They can slow down or deter unlawful entry and can add colour to your garden while improving your security.
Battery powered alarms are available from DIY stores. These will emit a powerful audible alarm when the door is opened and can reduce the risk of burglary. An even better system is to fit a system that will sound in your house, thus alerting you that all is not well.
A FINAL THOUGHT
Always remember that the tools stored inside your shed, including ladders etc., may be used by the criminal to break into your home or maybe even into your neighbour's house. This in itself is an excellent reason to ensure that they are not accessible to the thief.
By adopting the simple measures outlined here you can reduce the risk of you becoming another victim of theft. Over 1000 sheds and garages were broken into in the last 12 months in the Peterborough area. Many of the victims were "underinsured" or held no insurance at all.
PETERBOROUGH COMMUNITY SAFETY PARTNERSHIP