Indeed, the summer is primetime for shed intrusions, with almost 40% more garden and outbuilding thefts occurring in July and August than at the beginning of the year, according to data from Aviva.
The most common items stolen in burglaries from a non-connected building to a dwelling are tools/work materials, followed by garden furniture, bicycles/ bike parts and sports equipment, according to the Office of National Statistics. While you might not miss the odd plant pot or trowel, that brand-new mountain bike, cordless power drill or prized barbecue is another story.
But, let’s face it – sheds aren’t exactly the Fort Knox of the garden. Designed to house plant pots rather than valuable possessions, those containing expensive equipment can pose an easy, tempting target for thieves. So, what can you do to improve shed security and keep your valuables safe this summer?
It may sound obvious, but make sure your shed door can be closed fully and locked effectively: not only does it act as a physical deterrent and barrier, but if you have insurance covering the shed, you may not be covered when the door is unlocked. Replace any old, rusty or damaged padlocks with a heavy-duty alternative, or consider upgrading to a dead bolt. And don’t forget the hinges: you could have the most secure lock in the world, but it’s not much use if the hinges can be easily removed or kicked in!
As well as the locks and hinges, check the structural integrity of the shed itself, particularly if your area was affected by winter storms. Replace any broken or rotten panels, and if the door is flimsy or damaged, consider repairing, replacing or reinforcing it.
Make sure the structure is securely bolted or anchored to the ground. Unless you have a miniscule shed, it’s unlikely someone will walk off with the entire thing, but one with a wobble may be easier to push over and penetrate.
Windows are another vulnerable part of the shed and can help advertise its content to would-be intruders. To keep the contents secret from potential burglars, consider obscuring the glass with frosting, tinting, curtains or netting, or if you don’t need the window at all, black out the glass or panel it over. Consider replacing glass with plastic windows as a more secure alternative: acrylic is up to 17 times more resistant to impact and cracks rather than shatters, while polycarbonate is 250 times more resistant and is shatterproof. Also, if the window frames open, make sure you can lock them.
Burglary is much more likely to take place in the evening, at night and during the week, so it’s important to tidy everything away and secure it before bedtime and while you’re out at work. As mentioned, tools are the most common items to be stolen. While it may be tempting to leave them out if you’re in the middle of a project, make sure they’re locked away when not in use: not only could they be a target for thieves, but any tools left lying around could potentially be used to gain entry to the shed or even the house. Garden furniture is also the most common item stolen from outside a property so stow away your furniture, or at least cover up bulky items which can’t be locked away.
Try to store more valuable, desirable equipment such as golf clubs and power tools inside the house.
For valuable possessions that need to be stored outside, such as bicycles, garden furniture or lawnmowers, think about chaining these down or to bigger items in the shed to add that extra level of protection. For static garden items like ornaments, or ones that don’t fit in the shed such as barbecues, you could permanently concrete these in place.
While it may seem like overkill for the simple potting shed, there are relatively inexpensive shed, garage and garden alarm systems on the market which are easy to install. Security lights with a sensor and those on a timer are another great way to deter criminals. Camera security systems are a bigger investment, but they could capture images to help identify criminals. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, consider installing realistic fake cameras for a cost-effective deterrent. For the most basic security system, put down gravel on paths or driveways which could alert you to unwanted visitors.
Don’t make it easy for intruders! As well as ensuring the security of the shed itself, make it difficult for intruders to access your garden. Close and lock any gates, ensure boundary walls, fences or hedges are high and repair any damage, and secure any wheelie bins, ladders or furniture which could help them gain access.
Clearly mark your property with indelible ink to make it clear it belongs to you and make thieves think twice about taking them. While it may not always stop items being pilfered, it could make them harder to sell and if any stolen items are recovered they could find their way back to you more easily.
Churchill Security is a cross-industry supplier of security guard services. We provide security guards across the UK and have been creating tailored security packages for over 20 years. Whatever your requirements, get in touch to find out more about our security solutions.