Incidents of backyard burglaries from sheds and garages has been on the rise recently. [1]According to an article in the NZ Herald, lawn-mowers, garden tools and other outdoor equipment stored in garages and outbuildings were among numerous items reportedly stolen.

While it can be easy to overlook these external areas when assessing your home’s security,the reality is thieves are often looking for the easiest way to gain access to your house and because sheds and garages often store items such as tools or ladders, which they can use to break into your home, they can become a prime target.

Many new homes also have access doors that lead from the garage directly into the home,which perhaps aren’t as vigilantly locked as the traditional front door.

Take a look around your external storage areas. You may also be surprised at the number of valuable items they house. Sporting and camping equipment, power tools and irreplaceable collectibles are just some of the things that get moved outside to make extra space inside the home. The garage may even be set up as an entertainment zone with instruments, TV screens and popular gaming technology.

With spring almost upon us, we encourage you to review your external sheds and garages to ensure you don’t inadvertently invite a burglar into your home. Have the appropriate security in place to keep your outdoor storage items safe.

Here are some tips to keep in mind for outdoor storage:

Check the locks

  • Make sure that your shed and garage are fitted with secure locks, preferably one that is unable to be cut with bolt cutters.
  • Choose the best quality locks you can afford, such as sturdy padlocks or bolts.
  • Check that shed doors and door hinges aren’t loose. Consider fitting them with coach bolts or non-returnable screws.
  • Ensure that the shed doors are in good condition and strong enough to withstand attempted forced entry.
  • If you have a garage that provides direct access into your home, consider an automated door that can also be locked remotely using a smart device.

Rethink the storage of valuable items 

  • Don’t leave items such as sharp tools, ladders or gardening equipment lying around as these can be used to gain access to your property.
  • If possible,keep expensive items such as power tools and golf clubs inside the home.Alternatively store them in a locked cupboard or a bolted toolkit so they are out of sight.
  • Extend your alarm system sensors to include detached areas such as sheds and garages.

Other practical tips

  • Chain items such as bikes to each other or a strong anchor point.
  • Label and record serial numbers of expensive property, such as gardening equipment or power tools, to make them less attractive to burglars, and allowing for easy identification if stolen.
  • Make sure your household insurance covers your shed and garage contents. If you have a home alarm system, consider extending it to include the shed and garage. Many people don’t think to protect these outdoor areas with an alarm system but if you’re one of those people who stores valuable items outside, the decision may prove to be a valuable investment

[1] https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11802886