Police have issued advice about keeping homes, garages and sheds safe from crooks over the festive season after an increase in thefts in East Dunbartonshire.
There has been a slight increase from garages and outbuildings in the area over the last few weeks, according to officers.
Police said housebreaking, on the whole, is an opportunist crime and the criminal will select their target because it offers the best opportunity to carry out the crime undetected and to diffuse a number of obstacles in the way.
A building that presents itself as unoccupied and insecure is far more likely to be targeted than one which is properly secured.
Inspector Keith Bartlett, from Kirkintilloch Police Office, said: “One crime of this nature is one too many, and often the victims are the most vulnerable in the community.
“We would urge anyone with information on those carrying out this kind of crime or who sees anything suspicious to report it to the police as soon as possible.
“If you have any suspicions at all, phone the police. Remember, it would be helpful to the police if you could provide good descriptions of any persons and/or vehicle involved, including make, colour and registration number, where possible. Please be vigilant at all times and do not to make it easy for thieves.
“For advice or information, contact your local police office using the new Police Scotland non emergency phone number 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
Police have issued the following advice:
-Never leave a spare key concealed anywhere near the front door – burglars know all the hiding places
-Prevent letter box housebreakings by storing keys away from the front door
-Do not label your house keys in case you lose them and they fall into the wrong hands. Remove temptation. Where possible, try to keep valuables out of sight from windows.
Make it look as if your house is occupied:
-Install timers which switch lights or radios on and off automatically.
-Have a neighbour or friend pop round to clear your letter box or doorstep.
-Encourage a neighbour to park on your drive.
-If going out after dark, draw the curtains, leave some lights on and a radio playing.
If you are away for extended periods:
-Cancel the delivery of milk and newspapers.
-Disconnect the telephone answering machine, or re-word your greeting message to give the impression that you are only temporarily unable to answer.
-Enlist the help of a neighbour, friend or relative to keep a regular eye on your property and keep the front door clear of deliveries.
-If you are prepared to leave a key with a willing neighbour/relative, ask for curtains to be drawn and lights to be put on at night.
-Check your insurance policy. Some insurance policies for contents don’t cover you if you are away for more than 30 days.
-Set your intruder alarm.
-If you do not have an alarm, consider investing a few pounds in a dummy alarm box, it may well deter the opportunist thief.
How to secure your garden shed
The locking mechanism for most sheds is a padlock and hasp. It is recommended that the hasp be of strong construction, fitted to a reinforced section of the door and door surrounds. The screws attaching the hasp should be inaccessible when the hasp is closed.
The padlock used should be a closed shackle padlock, this prevents a thief from using a jemmy to force the lock.
A shed’s hinges are generally on the outside, this gives a thief access to the screws. It is recommended that several of the screws are either replaced with bolts, with the nut on the inside, or the screwheads are burred to prevent them being removed.
Many sheds are designed with a window. If there is no requirement for this window you should consider boarding it over. If you intend to use the shed for potting-up, or prefer the look of the shed with a window, then it is recommended that you fit an ornamental grille inside the window.
Much of the property stored within the garden shed is of little interest to a thief; however, there are some items that must be secured. Ladders can be used by a thief to break into houses, lawnmowers and strimmers are of value and can be easily sold on, as can most tools, electrical of otherwise.
It is recommended that either bicycle chains or a chain and padlock secure all property within a shed. Items should be chained to each other making it difficult to remove any one item.
Property should be marked with either indelible marker pen or ultra violent security marker.
Care should be taken when storing flammable materials. These should never be stored in large quantities and where possible should be locked away.
There are several localised methods available for alarming sheds and garages from use of a personal attack alarm, to motion sensors and door contacts available from all good DIY stores.
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