Latest figures reveal a 23% drop in burglaries of sheds and outbuildings across Conwy and Denbighshire Rural District - but as the nights draw in police are warning that there is no room for complacency.
Urging residents to ensure these buildings are kept secure and that they are checked regularly, Sgt Aled Eynon of the local policing team said: “We have had some notable reductions in crime. Figures so far show that we have 26 less victims of crime for this type of offence.
"At this time of year however many people tend not to use their garages, sheds and outbuildings as often as the need to cut the lawns and tend gardens eases. And, while we all use these buildings to store equipment the collective value of items within them is often considerable- so it’s essential that people have adequate security.
“Periodically, we still have instances where opportunist thieves target an outbuilding, garage or shed. Once inside they take anything of value but it is often bikes, quad bikes or power tools. Furthermore, because the need to use these buildings usually lessens in the autumn and winter, some crimes are not reported for days on end as the householder is unaware that they have been a victim of crime. Please check your shed or outbuildings regularly to ensure they remain secure."
He added: "Everyone can take steps to ensure their property and outbuildings are kept secure. Neighbours can also play a part in the fight against such burglaries by keeping an eye on nearby buildings and reporting anything suspicious to police immediately.
“We don’t want residents to get complacent or lax with their home security.
“It’s surprising how many burglaries we still deal with where thieves have found that a door has been left open or insecure and then helped themselves to property. Since May 1st to the beginning of September ’13 we believe that around 50% of burglaries / burglaries other than dwellings in the area relate to insecure buildings – so please help stamp this out by locking doors and windows.”
“Opportunist thieves operate throughout the year and will try to get their hands on expensive goods. Extra patrols are carried out in relevant areas but the support of the public to deter opportunist thieves by making it as difficult as possible for them to commit crime can’t be underestimated.”
If you store valuable items in your shed, outbuilding or garage, ensure you have a good locking system on the door and if you haven’t already got one consider installing a shed alarm.
Local police remain committed to doing all they can to help prevent such crimes and the following are some ‘top tips’ which can help you to further protect your property:
• If you store expensive items in your garage or shed ensure you have adequate security. Look at the security around your garden and ensure you have good fencing and a lockable gate. Keep it locked at all times.
• Consider using plant protection as another means of protection. Plants such as thorny shrubs can help deter would-be thieves from entering your garden.
• Don’t leave any tools or equipment in your garden, store them away safely in sheds, garages or outbuildings that are securely locked when not in use. If you do not have a garden shed or outbuilding bring the tools inside.
• Never leave valuable items on display or so that they can be seen through shed windows. Use nets, blinds or other material to block windows.
• Install outside security lighting which comes on automatically if there is any movement in your garden or around your property.
• Consider installing a shed alarm which are inexpensive and can be effective.
• If you have more than one bike, chain them together within your shed or garage as this will make it more difficult for a thief. Some sheds have concrete anchors attached to the floor – these are ideal to latch and lock your items to such as lawnmowers and bikes.
• Always remember to property mark your valuable items with your postcode in a prominent position. If you do unfortunately become a victim of crime at least you may stand a good chance of having your property returned to you if you have postcoded or property marked it.
• If you haven’t a garden shed or garage, consider keeping expensive cycles inside your home.
More information regarding keeping your property secure individuals can contact officers at the Community Safety Department on 101.