Outside the Home – Sheds, garages and outbuildings-It’s staggering to think, that in the United Kingdom, we currently spend in excess of three billion pounds a year on our gardens. This colossal amount of money includes amounts spent on both plants and equipment as well as the buildings that house them. Security for the garden, and it’s outbuildings including the garage is often overlooked, however, nowadays this part of the home, is seldom overlooked by thieves and burglars. Basically, because of improvements in home security, including the fitting of UPVC doors and windows with good quality locks, thieves are finding it more difficult to break into properties and thus are looking for easier targets. Sheds Garages & Outbuildings are especially vulnerable to theft when the property is unoccupied.
In the United Kingdom, we are a nation off shoppers and hoarders, it is often difficult to dispose of household items, especially if they were quite expensive to purchase in the first place even if they are unlikely to be used again, these items still find their way into an out building or the garage. Although some items will never be used again, they still need to be declared in your home contents insurance valuation, when doing a calculation to establish your sum insured. As almost all policies now operate on a new for old basis, you will have value these items as being brand new or you could have a problem in the event of a claim. Many people are unaware that items stored in a garage or shed or outbuilding are actually covered by home contents insurance, but most contents insurance policies will provide some level of cover. The actual amount you receive does very from insurer to insurer and your policy document should be studied to ascertain the level of cover provide. A limit of £5000 per annum is fairly typical, this can usually be increased subject to confirmation from your insurers and you having the necessary security in place.
The Garage Not everybody has turned their garage into a veritable Aladdin’s cave of stored items, it is of course the primary place to keep your car, and whilst your car is relatively safe, whilst out of sight, garage doors are notoriously weak, and won’t prove much of a barrier to a determined criminal, so additional security is required. Special attention must be applied to any internal door that connects your garage to the house. Often these doors are weak with poor security features, once inside your garage, a thief may simply be able to walk in to your home and help himself to your contents.
Here are our tips for securing your garage.
- If you garage is the place you keep your car, then keeping your car secure will be your primary concern. You could consider fitting a driveway post in front of your garage door This type of security device, is very similar to the ones seen at railway station car parks, they consist of a telescopic pole which locks in to place and will deter all but the most determined of thieves. Whilst on the subject of car security, remember, to place your car keys in a safe place in your home, not on the doormat and not on the porch window ledge. Thieves know a good deal of people leave there car keys by the door and many a vehicle has been stolen by a thief simply using a pole to pick the keys up from the door mat.
- When you garage deal is open, consider that you are advertising what it is you have to steal, try not to leave the garage door open for lengthy periods and always hut it, even if you are only popping out for a few moments. An empty garage can advertise the fact you are away from the property and may give a thief access to your tools to help him break in to your house.
- If you own a ladder, keep it in the garage but make sure it is secure. A thief will be delighted you have a ladder to help him enter through an open upstairs window, You could also consider investing in one of the various anchor point devices that are available to secure your tools or any pedal cycles that may be kept in the garage.
- If you have older style double garage doors, fit them with a strong padlock, with a hasp and staple on the inside and make sure that the doors and hinges are strong enough to prevent them being kicked in by a burglar
- Some of the standard up-and-over garage door locks are easily overcome by thieves but there are several extra secure locking devices available, to replace the handle lock which is usually fitted as standard. This should be a priority and a popular replacement is the’Defender lock”, The garage defender lock is a Sold Secure approved garage door lock. Sold Secure provide testing of security products, they are independent and if an item receives their seal of approval then you can be assured it will be of a good quality. This item now has a new improved easier to use design and it has been featured on Television as a quality product and it can be easily fitted within an hour. A relatively new form of lock is the’Autolock Stoppa”, this is an internally fitted device that is simple, strong & very secure. It features a drill resistant lock with weatherproof cap, it is cost effective ( less than £40.00) is easy to install and will fit most garage doors. Two fitted at each corner of the garage door will provide additional security. Externally, only the discreet lock and weatherproof cap can be seen and you can obtain a door sticker as a visible deterrent. When the device is locked, the main arm swings down to secure firmly into the base plate. Finally another quality garage security device is the’ Bulldog” lock, designed for up and over doors . The Bulldog Garage Door Lock will fit inside or outside most metal, glass fibre, plastic or wooden garage doors and is considered to be a good quality product.
Securing Sheds & Outbuildings believe it or not, as well as thefts from domestic outbuildings, thieves are also known to steal plants and shrubs as well as any item in the garden that might be considered of architectural interest. If you have gated entrances, to your rear garden, make them secure by fitting locks. Preventing them getting in in the first place is the best option though, and outbuildings & sheds are preferred by many burglars as they offer lower levels of resistance and are often tucked away a good distance from the main residence.
Tips to consider include
- If you have valuable gardening equipment such as a petrol mower, it’s worth having it security marked, this will help to deter thieves.
- Consider fitting wire mesh to windows of sheds & outbuildings. If the shed windows can be opened then they should be fitted with internal locks if they don’t already have them
- Don’t leave anything of value on display in a window.
- The minimum protection for a shed should be a a good quality hasp and staple with a padlock or pad bolt. A hasp and staple bolted to the door and frame will provide extra strength & security.
- Thieves will easily remove hinges from sheds, Screws, in the hinges of the shed door and outbuildings can be prevented from being removed by smearing glue over their heads. Alternatively there is a special type of screw available that cannot be unscrewed. These are sometimes referred to as ‘clutch-head’ or ‘coffin’ screws, you local DIY store will be able to assist you, or they can be bought online.
- Consider extending your home alarm system if you have valuable items stored in out buildings