IF YOU DONíT LIKE LIFT AND LOAD, THEN LINK AND LOCK.
After several decades working in the security profession, I have noticed distinct patterns of criminal activity in different areas at different times of the year. There are certain types of crimes that happen in a particular area at a particular time. The summer months of June, July and August usually bring a surge of crimes that target the homeownersí leisure activities.
In autumn, as the nights draw in, there is a surge of opportunist thefts because people, used to milder weather, have left their doors or windows unlocked after the daylight has diminished. In winter, when the noise of a storm covers a lot of other noises, there is an increase in force attacks on vacant properties. These continue into spring, when homeowners start to look at their gardens, often leaving sheds and outhouses insecure, and providing easy access to housebreaking tools.
In summer, there is a marked increase in thefts from gardens and patios. If you have a motor mower, or garden furniture, donít assume that itís too heavy to be taken. If itís not securely locked or tethered, it will be a target. Barbecue equipment, lawn sprinklers, bikes, childrenís toys, strimmers and chainsaws - they are all items that can be sold at boot sales in another part of the country for ready cash, no questions asked.
A lot of people like to eat outdoors throughout the high summer months, and often enjoy a few drinks to wash down the barbecued food. At the end of the day, nobody really feels like locking up all the garden furniture, or putting away all the barbecue equipment, the CD player and the kidsí toys, but these are the gardens that are cleared by villains once the sun goes down.
Itís not too difficult for a gang of four young men with a van to lift a complete set of garden furniture over a garden wall and into the back of the van without making any noise. Between them, they could manage an expensive motor mower, and all sorts of expensive gadgets left on the lawn. Furthermore, it could be another eight hours before anyone even notices the theft, and by that time it could have been sold on to an unsuspecting bargain hunter in Aberdeen, Leeds, Margate, Truro or Leicester.
There are some quite simple ways to stop them in their tracks. The principle that lies behind this is what we call Ďlink and lockí. If you pass a cable through your garden furniture, linking several chairs and a table, it immediately makes it very difficult to move these items over a garden wall without making any noise. A team of four men in a van would have to turn into a team of many more to lift the whole lot when it has been securely connected together.
If your motor mower is linked to a solid concrete post, thieves will either have to cut the link, or pull up the post. If you have a heavy duty cable or case-hardened chain, it wonít be easy for anyone to sever the link and steal it. Of course, if the thieves have seen another mower in the next street that isnít linked and locked, they will opt for the easier target, and leave yours in favour of the simple Ďlift and loadí tactic they prefer.
Forming strong connections between several items means that your belongings are no longer easily manageable for a small group of thieves. If they have to drag six chairs, a table, two bikes and a childrenís swing over a four foot garden wall, they are unlikely to do it without making a noise and attracting some attention.
This strategy only works if you lock the shed securely, so that thieves cannot get to any tools that may help them. Many ready-made sheds come with such basic locks that they are next to useless. If you had this lock on a rabbit hutch, even the rabbits would get out. Donít rely on these basic locks - they are only strong enough to stop the wind blowing the door open. Always fit additional locks to your shed - they should be as strong as the locks on your house to actually stop a thief from breaking in.
It neednít cost a fortune to secure the majority of items that are likely to get left out in the open air from day to day during the summer. If you like to get further advice on what you can do to make your possessions more secure, we are happy to help. Remember to LINK and LOCK, and give the opportunist summer thieves a tough time.