Even though statistically, your urban neighbours are 4 times more likely to be the victims of theft, property damage and break-ins, there has been an ever increasing trend in the number of analogous crimes in rural areas.
Most commonly, rural victims of crime are being targeted due to the fact that many properties are physically isolated or are blocked from view of main roads and pathways. Essentially, rural properties are being seen as a soft touch for thieves and criminals due to their remote nature.
Although there are several official bodies you can contact for information and advice regarding crime prevention on your property, we have compiled a small guide with many salient points on keeping your property safe.
Vigilance! This is the most cost effective means of keeping your property safe. Make a habit of noting down the number plates of any unfamiliar vehicles parked up in your immediate vicinity. This could be a very useful clue to the police if anything goes awry. In fact, rural police will frequently pay special attention to any vans or vehicles parked up in country lanes, you should too! Also, keep an eye on your neighbour's property too, hopefully they will return the favour.
Common sense! Often overlooked as a means of self defence, common sense is your friend against burglary. Don't make it easy for the thieves!
Light. Use lighting in conjunction with electronic timers and infrared sensors (also known as PIR "passive infrared sensor") to keep you property lit up. Thieves will often avoid brightly lit areas as they want to avoid being seen. Equally, good lighting will help illuminate your thieves, beautiful faces and bodies on your quality CCTV system. If you decide to use timers, try and vary the hours/times at which the lights come on and off, this will make it more difficult for thieves to ascertain whether someone is genuinely at home.
Physical barriers. These can take many forms varying from 8 foot tall stainless steel fences to thorny bushes under windows. With the rise in petty thefts and fly tipping, gates are increasingly becoming a necessity. There is a good selection of automated gates being manufactured in the UK so start your search here. Some of the more advanced models can be set up to text or call you on your mobile if the gate is opened, a feature that can be very useful.
Locks. With the advent of battery powered angle grinders and bolt cutters, locks have to be of a very good quality to provide any real security/deterrent. The same goes for any chains you are planning to use in conjunction with the locks (for example to secure a quad bike). You may also want to consider installing a ground anchor. Even if the thieves come equipped, the amount of noise they will have to make to get through thte locks/chains should hopefully be enough to alert you to their presence. Police and insurance companies advise the installation of 5 lever mortice locks on building doors (compliant with British safety standards and bearing the kite mark). Good quality locks on windows are also essential.
Doors and windows. In particular, ground floor windows and doors are most vulnerable. Make these as tough and impenetrable as possible by fitting laminated glass. The addition of bars may be of benefit. Bolts across the main front and back doors are also advisable.
Line of sight. Although for reasons of privacy it may be tempting to let those trees and bushes grow tall around your property, they also provide good cover for criminals. Leaving a clear line of site to your property from the road/path allows passers by, your neighbours and the occasional police patrol to keep eyes on your property.
Keys. Keep keys hidden and out of sight. Many vehicle thefts occur when burglars happen upon keys left by the front/back door hanging on a hook or lying on a dresser. Don't make it easy for them! Equally, leaving keys by a main entrance makes it very easy for them to escape if they have used an alternative means of entry to your property.
CCTV. One of the most powerful deterrents to criminals. They don't like like it on them! There are many different systems available which range hugely in price and function.
Trackers. These are particularly useful for keeping tabs on vehicles. Almost unbelievably, tractors and even combine harvesters are regularly stolen in the UK therefore your little quad bike is almost no challenge. With trackers as small as a grain of rice, they are difficult for a criminal to identify and remove and make it extremely easy for the police to identify your vehicle (and hopefully get it back to you). Data tagging and Cesar tagging are also good options to look into as, if your property is stolen and recovered, the police can get it back to you asap.
Safe. For added piece of mind, you may want to install a small hidden and fireproof, safe for those precious valuable items (passport, vehicle keys, watches, jewelry etc). Do not tell superfluous individuals of its location.
Alarms. These have varying degrees of efficacy. Generally, the louder, the better however there are limitations, namely; whether or not there is someone around to hear the alarm. If you are in a particularly isolated location, a form of monitored alarm system may be desirable whereby, you yourself, the police or a relevant monitoring body is alerted when a beam is crossed, a door/gate or window is opened or when a camera or button is triggered. If the alarm is monitored, you may have to pay an annual or monthly subscription. Have a look into driveway and perimeter alarms for some different options.
Guard dogs. They can be useful but bear in mind, your scary guard dog may be much more pliant when confronted with a nice juicy steak or dog treat. It is not uncommon for pedigree guard dogs to be stolen in the break in process.
Types of scumbag. Traditionally, we have two types: the opportunist and the strategist. Both can have a devastating effect on your life. The opportunist will want to put in minimal effort. They see an open window, go though it and steal what they can, often making quick their escape. These guys are easier to defend against as they are extremely work shy. Making sure you remain vigilant and keep everything secured and locked. This will generally be sufficient to keep these types at bay. Sadly, the other type of thief "the strategist" is a little trickier to defend against. Unfortunately, there is no fail safe way to guard against a truly determined criminal, however, making things as difficult and unappealing as possible is the still the best form of deterrent.
"It is the fear of crime that is greater than the actual threat of crime".
Don't let crime rule your life!
For more tips and advice on keeping yourself and your property safe, please follow this link to North Yorkshire's advice page on farm security. Click here!
The Bushgear Team