How to protect your backyard

Article courtesy of SafeWise

Colonial Sandstone Cottage House

When it comes to home security, we tend to focus on the inside of our homes. According to the FBI, there were an estimated 1,117,696 burglaries in the United States.

While it's important to protect the inside of your home, don’t forget about your backyard, shed, or garage. Items in the backyard area like barbeques, patio furniture, bikes, and even the gazebo, can be prime targets for thieves.

Try these tips to burglar-proof your yard.

Keep it bright

A well-lit space is an instant burglar deterrent. The more light on your backyard, the easier it is for a sneak to get caught.

Use motion sensor lighting to add extra security for your garden or backyard area. When motion is detected, the light turns on and stays on from 1 to 20 seconds, depending on the preset timer. The light automatically shuts off unless it continues to detect motion.

Position sensor lights to cover sidewalks leading to any door. You can also aim these lights at decks, patio areas, or stairways.

For additional security, put sensor lights at any entryway to the house or backyard. It’s best to place your motion sensor lights approximately 6 to 10 feet above the ground.

Protect your shed

Backyard sheds are goldmines for burglars looking for easy loot like power tools and equipment. The good news is it doesn't cost much to secure your shed.

 Many people keep ladders, tools, BBQs, or patio furniture outside year-round. You can protect your outdoor belongings from disappearing with just a few simple tips.

  • Secure ladders. If you keep ladders out, be sure to chain or padlock them. A ladder can be used to gain entry to second-story windows. If at all possible, store the ladders in a shed or garage.

  • Put tools away. Be sure to put any tools away after a day of yard work. Lock them in a shed or in an enclosed garage area. Tools like screwdrivers, hammers, and pry bars are not only expensive, but they could also be used against you by a burglar.

  • Chain tables and chairs. Use a chain or a cable to lock down your patio furniture.
     

It’s also a good idea to take pictures of your outdoor belongings or anything of value in the backyard. You could take pictures of grills, decorative items, toys, fire pits, or anything that could be easily stolen. The photos will give you documentation if you ever need something recovered by insurance.

Fence it off

Fences create an obvious barrier around your backyard, but a simple chainlink or wooden fence isn't enough to prevent burglars. 

Make sure your backyard fence is tall enough to prevent anyone from climbing it. Picket fences with sharp points or tall chainlink fences can work as well.  

Your fence should also have some type of locking mechanism like a lock or latch that self closes. Most locks on the market hook through the mechanism.

Beware not to choose a lock or latch with a latch hole that has room for a hand to enter from the outside. This may be easier for you to get in and out of your backyard, but it’s also easier for a burglar as well.

It is best to consider a solid fence in a case by case situation depending on your risks: such as how close you live to high traffic areas and if you are more focused on concealing backyard items or allowing neighbors to help keep an eye on your belongings and people who don't belong.

Install an alarm system

An alarm system is your best bet to preventing theft. An alarm is a big deterrent to a burglar because if the burglar thinks an alarm is going to go off, they’ll move on to an easier target.  While you can’t have an alarm system in the backyard, you can make sure a would-be burglar knows your home is protected with a security system. Make a burglar know your home is protected by:

  • Putting up signs or stickers on the windows with your security company’s name prominently displayed.

  • Making cameras visible. Under eaves or in doorways are good places to put a camera.

  • Posting neighborhood watch signs.

  • Lock your sliding glass doors and add locks to any home entrances facing your backyard.

Your backyard can be a vulnerable place. Keep your property and your home safe by following a few simple tips and suggestions.

Final word

Securing the inside and front of your home is always smart, but vulnerabilities in your backyard can also attract burglars. 

Taking steps like adding cameras and lights, keeping your yard clean, locking your shed and back door, and improving your fence can make your home look less appealing to intruders.