On The Beat column with Supt Paula Booth
Well folks, it's that glorious part of the year again when spring has well and truly sprung and the grass is growing fast.
To avoid having to hack through an out-of-control jungle by leaving it too long, it’s about the right time to crank up the lawnmower which has been coated in cobwebs in the shed or garage during the dark winter months.
If you’re really green fingered, you may also have an array of other gardening tools and equipment, ranging from standard spades, forks and trowels to more expensive items such as leaf blowers, chain saws and ride-on lawnmowers.
As you can imagine, such items light up the sneaky eyes of opportunistic criminals who are on the look-out for easy targets.
This is especially so when often valuable equipment has been left unattended in gardens or in unlocked sheds and garages.
Make no mistake, the hardened criminal will pinch anything that is in within easy reach.
As I have highlighted in previous columns, and I make no apologies for repeating the message until it fully sinks in, there is so much you can do to prevent crime alongside the on-going work of the police to actively deter and detect offenders. At the very least, if you have a door lock or window lock on your outbuilding, make sure you use them.
A simple padlock and hasp correctly fitted to a door is often enough to keep thieves at bay. Even better, use a close coupled padlock for increased security.
It is vitally important to check your shed and garage for signs of decay and, if required, to strengthen the door, frame and hinges with coach bolts or non-return screws. It’s no good having locks if someone could easily kick their way through rickety doors and side panels.
Windows should also be secured with grills or heavy wire mesh to increase window security. When buying new windows, install those which are certified to British Standard BS7950 “Windows of Enhanced Security” or PAS 24: 2012.
A garage defender is effective to secure existing garage doors as they bolt into the ground and stop it from being opened until you unlock it and drop it flat. It is also wise to use a ground anchor, which is a chain or strong point set into the ground, to which you can secure valuable items within the shed or garage.
Please use one which meets Sold Secured Gold standard or Secured by Design.
If you have a door connecting the garage to the house, make sure this has the same level of security as your front door, fitting locks that meet BS 3621, or fitting a door that meets PAS 24: 2012.
It is also recommended to invest in external security lighting and fit a home security alarm systems that will summon help as well as raise the alarm if somebody attempts to break into your property.
Remember, you are greatly reducing the likelihood of becoming a victim of crime by implementing some or all of these crime prevention measures.
For further crime prevention advice, please contact your local neighbourhood police team or go to the North Yorkshire Police website www.northyorkshire.police.uk/staying-safe/home-security
There are also some excellent home security tips on the Secured by Design website www.securedbydesign.com
Please take care and try to do everything you can to keep your property safe and secure.