Spring is here and it’s time to launch our annual crime prevention campaign to help residents make their homes, gardens and outbuildings more secure.

As the warmer weather starts to roll in, bees aren’t the only thing buzzing around your home and garden. As people start spending more time outdoors, using gardening and leisure equipment, burglars are also out and about looking out for valuable things to steal. Any valuable tools, bicycles or other expensive items left out or stored in poorly secured outbuildings can tempt them.

More than 50 shed and outbuilding burglaries occurred around the county during February, with Welwyn Hatfield (10) Dacorum (nine) and North Herts (nine) having the highest number of offences.

Nicola Chamberlain, Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Crime Prevention lead, said: “Burglaries and thefts from gardens often increase at this time of year as the temperatures rise. People tend to buy new garden equipment, start DIY projects or splash out on barbecues etc, meaning there’s a lot of valuable stuff in gardens and sheds. We are recommending that everyone takes some basic security measures to make sure their gardens and outbuildings are secure. Leaving tools and gardening equipment lying around in your garden can attract thieves, as they are often valuable or could even be used to break into your home.

“Make sure any tools that could assist a burglar, like ladders, trowels, hammers etc, are locked away and ensure outbuildings are as secure as possible, with strong locks or even an alarmed padlock. Consider installing dusk till dawn security lights and planting defensive plants like roses along your borders, and make sure fences are in good condition, which will help keep your home safe. Remember to close windows and lock doors when you are finished outside and before going to bed, even when the weather gets warmer.”

Twelve tips to make your garden and outbuildings more secure:

Always lock your shed, preferably with two ‘hasp and staple’ locks (one near the top and one near the bottom of the door) or use or an alarmed padlock.
Secure your rear garden by locking entry gates with a padlock.
Burglars can use garden tools to break in, so make sure you securely lock away any tools after use.
Ensure boundary fences are secure and in good condition. Spiky plants along garden boundaries are good additional deterrents.
Tools and gardening equipment should be visibly marked with your postcode and house number – this can deter thieves and help police identify the rightful owner.
Remember to lock your garage door securely. Metal ‘up and over’ doors can be secured with extra locks fitted either side and/or a floor-mounted locking ‘T’ bar with a closed shackle padlock. Wooden garage doors can be secured with two substantial ‘hasps and staple’ locks and closed shackle padlocks (your local DIY store can advise on the most secure options).
Make access to the rear of your property difficult, keep rear/side gates closed and locked and ensure boundary walls/fences are in good repair.
Keep wheelie bins secured so they cannot be moved or used as climbing aids.
Plant defensive spiky plants under windows such as berberis, roses and pyracantha. Watch our video on defensive plants (opens in new window).
Most bicycles are stolen from home so ensure they are kept in secure sheds, outbuildings and garages. Consider installing ground anchors if you have a concrete floor. If not, look for security rated products specifically for wooden and metal sheds.
Take extra security precautions for storing expensive bikes, it is recommended that they are security marked and registered with Bike Register (opens in new window).
For more detailed security advice, please visit our crime prevention pages.

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