If you're renting and spot any risks outside your home, remember that it may be your landlord's responsibility to help - check your tenancy agreement (or occupation contract in Wales) or speak with your landlord. If you're not sure, call our Helpline for further advice.
At the front
Create a boundary at the front of your home with a low wall or fence, or by planting prickly or barbed shrubbery, such as holly, firethorn or hawthorn, if you’re able to maintain them. You could also plant low-growing thorny shrubs below windows and drainpipes.
Always keep your front gate closed – consider fitting a gate spring – and keep fences and walls in good repair. If your back garden has an access gate, keep it padlocked and make sure the gate can’t just be lifted off its hinges.
Keep the view into your front garden clear so any potential intruders are visible. Cut back any overhanging branches or foliage. Boundary fences, walls, shrubs and bushes should be no more than about 1m (3 ft) high. You may need planning permission to make changes to a fence, wall or gate. Contact your local council’s planning department to find out.
If you need help with your garden, see our guide Getting help at home.
Keep your garden tidy
Sheds are often targeted by burglars. It’s common for garden tools to be stolen or used to break in. Keep them locked in sheds and gardens, and ask your neighbours not to leave tools out either. Don’t leave rubbish, ladders, wheelie bins or anything else lying around that could be used for burglary or vandalism.
Burglar alarms can be a very effective deterrent. There are many different types and costs vary, so get advice before you buy. You’ll need to decide whether you want a system that just sounds an alarm or one that contacts you, nominated friends or family, or a security company when it’s triggered.
Don’t be tempted to use a dummy alarm – they’re easy to spot – and never buy from cold callers or telesales enquirers. You should get at least three quotes from an accredited company.
Your local police Safer Neighbourhood Team or Crime Prevention Officer may be able to advise you. You could also speak to your insurance company. Your local Home Improvement Agency may be able to help you install one:
Home CCTV is more affordable these days and it’s possible to buy relatively cheap cameras. You can also get smart doorbells such as Ring, which help you see who’s at the door before you open it.
See our Home security guide for more information.
For crime prevention advice, contact your local police Safer Neighbourhood Team or Crime Prevention Officer by calling 101 or go to Police.uk if you live in England or Wales, or scotland.police.uk if you live in Scotland.
If you think you need planning permission to make changes to your existing garden, or to add a new fence, check with your local planning authority.
The Royal Horticultural Society also has some useful information on how to increase the security of your garden.