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Your garden and outside

Your garden could be the first step that a burglar takes on the way to getting their hands on your property. When looking at how best to secure your home, start from the outside and work your way in.

Paths, gates, fences and hedges - the advice: 

  • Make sure you always lock any gates and keep fences in good repair.

Gates, fences and hedges - the technical bit: 

  • Walking on gravel is noisy, so can help to deter intruders.
  • Thorny plants or trellis on top of perimeter fences will help to deter intruders.
  • Front boundaries (hedges, trees and shrubs) shouldn’t exceed 1m in height (usually windowsill height); unless they are metal railings which allow natural vision through, to stop a burglar having a screen to work behind.
  • Side and rear boundaries should be a minimum of 1.8m in height. If it’s above 2m, planning permission may be needed. An additional diamond style trellising is difficult to climb and gives a framework for spiky plants like climbing roses.
  • An anti-climbing topping on gates, such a decorative spearhead design, make it difficult for them to be climbed over.
  • Wooden side gates and driveway gates should be secured on the inside with two substantial hasp and staples with closed shackle padlocks, one towards the top and one towards the bottom, to reduce leverage.

Lighting – the advice: 

  • Police do advise that lighting can play an important role in reducing the risk of burglary because it makes homes look occupied and, therefore, not a target for most burglars.  This lighting needs to be inside the home (and visible to those outside) and at entry points (doorways and windows).  This type of lighting is particularly relevant during the daytime in winter as the evenings draw in, as early as 3pm, when many householders will still be at work. Burglary prevention lighting is not related to street lighting. 

Lighting – the technical bit: 

  • Lighting can play an important role in reducing the risk of burglary because it makes homes look occupied and, therefore, not a target for most burglars. This lighting needs to be inside the home (and visible to those outside) and at entry points (doorways and windows). This type of lighting is particularly relevant during the daytime in winter, as the evenings draw in, as early as 3pm, when many householders will still be at work.
  • Lighting outside the property should be considered as this, combined with other measures such as alarms and locks, will improve the overall security of individual properties.
  • Dusk until dawn security lighting is best, particularly for the rear of your property where heat and motion sensor lighting are often activated by small animals. They can however be a useful addition at the front of your home so they turn on when visitors approach/you come home.
  • Street lighting is only intended to cover the road and footpath and not private property
  • Install the lights so they are out of reach to avoid the risk of them being tampered with.
  • The use of low consumption lamps is recommended with the units fitted to reduce the light glare and light pollution. Go for good quality rather than quantity. 

Garages and Sheds – the advice: 

Always make sure you securely lock your garage and/or shed, and don’t keep any valuables in there unless you use additional security measures. Lock away any gardening equipment and tools, as burglars can use these to break into your home. 

Garages and sheds – the technical bit: 

  • Metal up and over garage doors can be secured with additional purpose made locks fitted to either side, approximately 300mm up from the floor to reduce the leverage points.
  • An external floor mounted solid steel locking ‘T’ bar with a closed shackle padlock will offer a good visual deterrent and make it difficult to force the door open.
  • Wooden garage double doors can be secured with two substantial hasps and staples and closed shackle padlocks, one towards the top and one towards the bottom.
  • Garage side or rear doors can be secured with the British Standard 5-lever mortice locks and two internal mortice rack bolts, one towards the top and one towards the bottom to reduce the leverage points.
  • Shed doors can be secured with two substantial hasps and staples and two closed shackle padlocks on the outside, one towards the top and one towards the bottom External hinge screws should be replaced with one-way clutch head screws to prevent them being removed and access gained this way.
  • Garage and shed windows can be secured with internal diamond mesh grilles which provide a good visual deterrent to opportunistic burglars.

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