Colin Connolly IFA Rural Crime Prevention Executive issues a reminder to secure and record your property as the summer months begin.
With the sun about to shine again, we face into a different spate of criminal activity. As we all rush to cut the grass, trim the hedge and plant the flower beds, we open ourselves up to being the victims of theft. Simple measures can ensure that out gardening tools and equipment will stay safely in our possession.
Remember as you open up the windows and sheds to do the clear out and move into summer mode that opportunist thieves are also gearing up feed the black market with stolen goods.
Recording your equipment
Some of the popular items that will be in demand are lawn mowers, both ride on and push, as well as powered garden equipment like strimmers and hedge cutter. Other sought after items are garden furniture and ornaments.
In order to protect these valuable items, I would strongly recommend that you record all details of your property – make, model, colour and serial number. By registering and using www.theftstop.ie you can record details of all items for free. Theft Stop also allows you to add a photograph of the item to your personal profile. Once all the information is recorded you’ll be able to access it easily in the event that you need to report a theft and if property is found and it is clearly marked with a Theftstop I.D. it will find its way back to you much easier.
Storing tools and equipment
As with farm machinery and equipment I recommend storing your electric equipment out of sight and ensuring that it is securely locked away when not in use. Remember to secure equipment when taking a break for lunch or to do another job. Tidy the tools away or keep them in your view – don’t assume that they will be fine until you return.
If you have a ladder laying around your property, store it well out of sight and make it difficult to use for a thief. Many thieves arrive to a property without their breaking tools and use what they find on arrival to carry out their business.
When securing you property, pay close attention to your boundary – make sure it is robust and consider planting naturally defensive plants along possible rear or side access locations.
Windows and doors
We most often fear the night-time criminal, but these individuals operate during the day too. In many instances, thieves simply enter a property and walk into an unsecured shed or outhouse and leave with what they want without any disruption. Some even drive into the property. So close gates behind you; always ensure that windows and doors are secure even when you are working close by.
Too often, homes are accessed while the people are at home but without their knowledge. On outhouses, consider if you actually need a window, or could you block it up and fit a door with a self-closing hinge lock. This could be a simple effective deterrent.
Garden features and ornaments
Garden ornaments and features can be very expensive and difficult to replace – don’t discount their value when recording property details. Record their size and their colour; take a photograph and consider securing these with a cement base in the ground.
Alarms and lights
I cannot stress enough the importance of setting the house alarm. Especially now in the long evenings and sunshine. The tendency to pop out in the belief that you won’t be long is easy but a few seconds setting the alarm can prove worthwhile.
Remember most house alarms can now allow you to isolate a specific window or zone, which will allow you to leave a zone open for fresh air but ensure that the house is secure. If outhouses are not alarmed, consider upgrading these buildings. With regard to security lights, now is a good time to ensure that they are working properly and to adjust them accordingly. If they are on timers, move the time on to reflect the lighting up hours.
Make sure that all your property that is recorded is covered by an insurance policy for your ultimate protection. In order to record details of all your property consider the use of Theftstop.ie as a free asset register.
Finally, I always remind people keep an eye out for each other and to report any suspicious activity to An Garda Siochana immediately.