New rules for recording burglaries reflect all home break ins
People are being warned about what could be a dramatic increase in instances of home burglary this year, but being told not to worry about it – it doesn’t actually mean that more break ins have taken place! Sounds contradictory but it’s just because the way the police records burglaries is changing due to new rules set by the Home Office that came in on 1st April this year.
Where previously, a break in to a shed or garage would have been counted as a ‘non-dwelling’ burglary, now all break-ins that occur within the boundary of a residential property will be recorded as a residential burglary. The new Home Office rules state: “The classification of residential burglary includes all buildings or parts of buildings that are within the boundary of, or form a part of, a dwelling and includes the dwelling itself, vacant dwellings, sheds, garages, outhouses, summer houses and any other structure that meets the definition of a building.”
This will inflate the ‘dwelling’ burglary statistics compared to last year but only because it will include all those previously classed as non-dwelling break ins.
We think this does make sense; anyone who has been the victim of a break in to their garage or outhouse will tell you that this can be just as upsetting as a break in to their home. Expensive bikes, garden equipment, tools, TVs and sound systems that people often keep in these external buildings can represent just as high a value of loss as theft from their home. Classifying them equally also ensures that they get parity of police focus when investigating the crime.
Therefore, if you do see burglary stats increasing dramatically when figures are released next year it’s not necessarily cause for concern!
How to prevent an outhouse burglary
If the Home Office is giving equal weight to ‘non-dwelling’ burglaries then it seems sensible that residents should too. Here are our best tips for preventing a break in to a garage or shed:
Fit good locks and make sure you lock up when not in use
The locks you have on external buildings should be just as good as those you have on your home and don’t think that you only need to lock them up on a night. Many audacious thieves will sneak in in broad daylight if the opportunity presents itself so unless you’re in there yourself, keep it locked up tight
Obscure view in from windows and doors
If you have valuable items inside then make sure they can’t be easily seen from the outside. This can especially be an issue with summer houses that often have large windows and patio doors (and often contain TVs or sound systems). Consider curtains or blinds that you can close when not in use. For sheds and garages you may want to consider just blocking windows out.
Minimise the value of what they contain
Clearly lawnmowers and bikes are difficult to store in the house but items like tools might be better kept at home. Make it even more difficult to take things from out buildings by locking items up within the building itself. Lockable containers or good bike chains could be used to make it even more difficult to take them.
Link to your alarm
You can usually have out buildings and garages added onto your home burglar alarm, even if they are not physically connected. You can assign this as a zone so that even when you’re in your home and your alarm is not set it still can be for outside buildings.
If you need any advice about securing your out buildings or your home then call us on 0345 833 5543 or pop into our security shop in Wakefield.