When my mom moved into her house in a new development, half of the neighborhood was still under construction, meaning tools and lumber were regularly laying about. And they had theft problems—major theft problems. Because those tools, they are tempting! In fact, tools rank in the top four items that burglars steal, because tools can be turned into ready cash.
So take a minute to think about where burglars might look for tools: outbuildings. Are yours secure?
You might do a good job making sure your garage is locked up when not in use, but what about your outbuildings? For some of us with detached garages, we can count our garages as outbuildings, but there are also tool sheds, barns, garden sheds, greenhouses, shops and other kinds of smaller structures that aren’t our homes, but still can look like potential targets for burglars.
What can you do to keep those structures safe from break-ins? Depending on the construction of your outbuildings, your options might be limited when it comes to making them secure. Yet it’s still worth your while to do whatever you can to protect your property. Below we offer three bits of advice to help…
Beef up bolts, locks and windows the best you can
Sheds and other smaller outbuildings generally aren’t made to be secure. If we had to lock up our barn, I don’t even know where we’d start! It wasn’t built to be something that got locked up! Still, do what you can to at least deter a burglar. You might not be able to burglar-proof an outbuilding, but you can at least make it harder to break into so anyone trying might decide they don’t have time to mess with it. You can find good advice on making outbuildings more secure at The Crime Prevention website.
Store valuable equipment in the place that’s most secure
It might not be convenient to keep your power tools in the safe and secure garage when your ongoing project is in the barn, and you don’t want to schlep your equipment back and forth. But if your barn is less secure than your garage or shop, you should probably store everything in the safer location…to be on the safe side.
Remember to check your outdoor lighting and hiding places
No burglar wants to burgle in plain view of neighbors, so make sure your outdoor lighting helps to protect your outbuildings by making them visible. Also check for shrubs, trees or even garbage cans that can provide a hiding place for someone trying to jimmy a lock or break a window.
And it’s not always a burglary; sometimes it’s simply a violation. Our 1890 farmhouse came with an old ice house behind it that was being used for storage when we bought the place. Since the house was falling down, we didn’t live in it until a year and a half after we bought it, and one day while cleaning out this old ice house, I found a lot of beer bottle caps…that hadn’t been there before. Someone partied hard in the ice house when we weren’t around. They didn’t steal anything, but the sense of violation that comes from someone being on our property while we weren’t there left me shaken.
When you think about home security, the security of your outbuildings might not be top of mind, but for those burglars in search of tools they can turn into cash, those sheds, barns and shops are every bit as much a tempting target as your house. Do what you can to deter them and keep them out. And the next time you can’t find a certain tool, at least you’ll know you simply misplaced it!