Protect your home: Garden thefts on the rise

Rise in garden theft sparks growing need to protect outside the home

Lloyds Bank Insurance is warning property-proud Britons to protect their homes and gardens from would-be thieves, after figures released today showed a rise in theft from around and outside the home in the past five years.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures revealed that 19% of property crime is ‘other’ household theft, including theft from outside the home, which has risen from 15% in 1995.

The recent Garden Values report by Lloyds Bank Insurance found that homeowners spent an average of £894 on outdoor furniture and decorations for their gardens in the past 12 months, with the UK garden now estimated to be worth nearly £2,000.

Despite this hefty investment, 12.5 million (44%) of homeowners are leaving their gardens unprotected, either not knowing if they are adequately covered or by having no insurance at all. A further 43% admitted not having a secure lock for their gardens, risking exposure to opportunistic thieves.

Tim Downes, senior claims manager, Lloyds Bank Insurance, said:

“While spending on our homes and surrounding areas increases, as does the need to protect them. We know that the majority of thefts from garden and sheds tend to be opportunistic, yet so many homeowners are still leaving themselves exposed by not investing in adequate security.

When it comes to protecting our properties, homeowners should remember that what is on the outside also counts. Taking some small steps to ensure your property and garden are protected could help prevent having to fork out to replace garden goods should the worst happen.”

Tips for protecting your home and garden against property crime:

Lock, stock and wheelbarrows: Always ensure garden sheds, gates, garages and outbuildings remain bolted with a secure lock and make sure there are no gaps in fences or bushes for opportunistic thieves to slip through.

Christmas cover: At this time of year, the value of your home contents inevitably goes out as you buy and store gifts for others.As online shopping becomes more commonplace – according to Royal Mail, two billion items were delivered over the Christmas period last year – it is important to request that gifts are delivered somewhere you know they’ll be safe, such as a neighbour, relative or workplace, rather than left on the doorstep, where they clearly mark an empty home and a gift up for grabs. Additionally, if you keep presents under the tree, try to keep them out of sight from the window.

House proud or advertising to thieves? Keep any expensive items out of sight and, wherever possible, locked away. Smaller items such as jewellery and tablet devices are relatively easy to put in a cupboard or drawer. With bigger items, make sure that these can’t be seen from the street so that they’re not being advertised to would-be thieves.

Tag it: Mark valuable items, such as patio furniture and ornaments, with your postcode, and keep photos of your garden valuables in case anything is stolen or vandalise

Check your policy: Knowledge is power – if you have home contents insurance be sure to check what is covered. Whilst buildings insurance covers the structure and fixtures of your home, contents insurance covers the items within the house.