Life in rural England should be idyllic; nothing but the dawn chorus to wake you up in the morning, clean fresh air and more lush greenery than you can shake a stick at. There’s no motorway in sight. You may think that along with this countryside peace and tranquillity there would be very little crime. While crime levels are significantly lower than that seen in major cities, there are still pockets of criminal activity that is carried out on a much smaller scale, but that is still harmful to anyone who finds themselves the victim.
Garden crime is becoming so prevalent in some rural areas that police forces such as Leicestershire Constabulary have produced leaflets and information on their website detailing how to be vigilant when a spate of garden burglaries occur. If you are a keen gardener and find pleasure in getting your fingers green, your knees mucky and your plants flowering, read on to find out how you can prevent crime from ruining your gardening experience.
An Easy Target For Thieves
The amount of money we spend on securing our properties can be vast. We may purchase the most secure locks for our super strengthened composite front doors alongside our monthly subscription to our home alarm provider. We install security lights and possibly even CCTV systems to monitor the perimeter of our buildings. However, when it comes to our gardens, we concentrate on the aesthetics rather than security.
Garden environments can lead to easy pickings for the hardened burglar. In sheds, up and down the country a burglar may find plenty of top quality items that he can then sell on. Often, thieves don’t even need to break into a shed as he can take items such as outdoor dining sets, barbecues and kids toys straight from the garden. If they do venture into outbuildings, burglars are able to steal bikes, golf clubs, power tools and expensive gardening equipment. The chances are that you have a simple lock on your shed that can be forced open in a couple of seconds. In Warwickshire and West Mercia over 3000 shed burglaries happen every year. It’s up to us to make the deterrent so great that burglars wouldn’t risk committing a crime for fear of getting caught.
To make the burglar’s life more difficult, ensure that you have adequate fencing around your boundary and carry out some planting that adds to your security. Although ubiquitous at Christmas, holly is a spiky hedging plant that grows all year round and will make a burglar think twice when considering whether or not to enter your garden. Ensure that you use a closed shackle padlock and that your shed is in a sound, structural condition. If it’s beginning to get old and rickety, or has windows missing, then it’s time to get a new one.
Down At The Vegetable Patch
If you don’t find yourself blessed with space in your own garden, you could choose to rent an allotment space. People up and down the country love spending their Sunday afternoons tending to their marrows, courgettes, and tomatoes down at their vegetable patch. Sadly, as with our gardens, allotments are now experiencing criminal activity because of their general lack of security.
A crime that is on the increase is allotment vandalism. It seems that disenchanted youth with nothing better to do, take great pleasure in destroying plots, smashing greenhouses and leaving graffiti strewn across sheds.
To combat vandalism, it’s vital that the perimeter around your allotment has some form of CCTV installed. If a young vandal turns up at the allotment gates, looks up and spots that he might find himself on camera, the chances are that he will walk away. If the most determined vandal makes it onto your plot, ensure that there is nothing there worthy for him to steal. Keep your tools at home and transport them to and from the site.
If you do have a shed on your vegetable plot, keep it unlocked with nothing of value inside it. Installing motion sensor lighting around your patch may also unnerve any vandal from carrying out any criminal activity once he finds himself in the spotlight.
Garden crime is a problem across many counties within the UK. While we may not be able to stop garden crime completely, we can certainly do everything within our power to keep our gardens safe and secure, and to deter the potential thief or vandal from committing a criminal act.