How to Burglar-Proof Your Backyard

Written by | Updated November 11, 2013

When it comes to home security, we often think about the inside of our homes. According to the FBI, 2,000,000 home burglaries are reported every year in the United States, with home break-ins being the most common threat.

While you do need to make sure the inside of your home is protected, don’t forget about your backyard. The backyard area, like barbeques, patio furniture, bikes, and even the gazebo, can be a prime target for thieves. Try these tips to burglar-proof your yard.

Get Sensor Lighting

Motion sensor lighting is useful when it comes to providing extra security for your garden or backyard area. Lighting is especially helpful if you have a heavily foliaged 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.

Sensor lights are generally inexpensive to install, but are excellent deterrents. 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 entry way to the house or backyard. It’s best to place your motion sensor lights approximately 6 to 10 feet above the ground.
yard lights

Protect Outside Belongings

Along with preventing entry into your home from the backyard, be sure to secure the items you keep in the yard area. 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.

Install Strong Fences

Fences that are difficult to climb or break through are great for preventing theft. A fence around your backyard needs to be strong and the top should be high. Make sure the top is high enough to prevent it being climbed. A picket fence with sharp points or a chain-link fence are also good options.

Another important aspect of a fence is the locking mechanism. You want 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.

Alert Burglars of Your 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.

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

Written by Hillary Johnston

A proud mother of four, Hillary is passionate about safety education. She holds a degree in Public Health and Disaster Management. Learn more

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