As the weather turns milder and a few patches of sunshine appear, we want to remind residents to keep their homes, gardens and outbuildings secure.

Many residents are busy in their gardens at this time of year, or just throwing open a few windows to enjoy the warmer air. This is great news for burglars who are already taking advantage of the brighter days.

Whilst home burglaries are down compared to the same period last year, thefts from gardens, sheds and garages have increased by over 40 per cent. Burglars are particularly interested in any expensive equipment stored in outbuildings like power tools, bicycles or exercise equipment, so make sure your outbuildings are secure.

More than 50 shed and outbuilding burglaries have occurred around the county during April, with Dacorum (13), East Herts (seven), Hertsmere (seven) and Watford (seven) having the highest number of offences.

Nicola Chamberlain, Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Crime Prevention lead, said: “As the weather gets better, outbuildings and homes are often left unsecure, due to people spending more time outside or opening windows and doors to keep cool. This gives criminals opportunities to access homes and gardens to steal any valuable items left around. It’s important to remember to lock outbuildings and windows and doors, even if you are at home, thieves can still access insecure areas when you are upstairs or in another part of your home.

“Make sure any tools that could assist a burglar, like ladders, trowels, hammers etc, are locked away and ensure outbuildings are secured 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.”

Twelve tips to make your garden and outbuildings more secure:

  • Always lock doors, windows and outbuildings if leaving your home or even when you go upstairs or to another part of your home.
  • 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 defensive plants video (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 at Bike Register (opens in new window).

For more detailed security advice, please visit our crime prevention pages.

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