today’s columnist, Inspector Richard Burgess: Keeping your property safe

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There have been a number of changes to policing in Sheffield over recent weeks – the main change being that each neighbourhood now has its own Local Policing Team (LPT).

As the Inspector for Sheffield North East LPT, I am responsible for the team that deals with crime and antisocial behaviour across the area which includes Burngreave, Chapeltown, Ecclesfield, Firth Park, High Green, Parson Cross, Pitsmoor, Shiregreen, Southey, and Wincobank.

So what does it mean for you? There are six LPTs across Sheffield which combine response police, safer neighbourhood police and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) to give every officer a neighbourhood focus.

My team based at Ecclesfield will continue to work in the heart of your community and provide support 24/7. We have our own webpage, Twitter @SheffNE_LPT and Facebook accounts, and you can find out more by visiting Local Police and entering your postcode.

One of the main issues our LPT is currently dealing with is theft from vehicles, garages and sheds. While there is no excuse for any type of crime, there are things that you can do to keep your home and your property secure.

n Gardens: Extra attention should be given to passageways at the side or rear of your home.

Strong lockable high gates could deter thieves attempting to gain access.

Fencing and walls can provide extra protection by fixing trellis on the top.

Don’t leave spare keys hidden in your garden, garage or shed. If an intruder finds them and uses them to burgle your home, your insurance may be invalid.

Good lighting is an excellent way to deter intruders, particularly by fitting outside lights with dusk-to-dawn sensors.

Using low-wattage bulbs provides a cheap and effective security.

n Sheds: Position your shed so that it is clearly visible from your home. Consider painting your house number and postcode onto valuable gardening equipment.

This deters thieves and increases the chances of the items being recovered.

Also, register your valuables on to increase the chances of getting them back.

Avoid storing valuable items such as power tools, fishing tackle or golf clubs in a shed.

The most effective way to secure shed doors is to fit a strong hasp and staple. Secure this with ‘coach bolts’ and lock the hasp over the staple with a closed shackled padlock.

You can further protect your shed with items such as ‘shed bars’ and larger items such as cycles can be secured to shed shackles.

Secure shed door hinges with ‘clutch head’ or ‘coffin’ screws.

These can only be unscrewed with a special tool. Hang a curtain or net up at the window.

n Garages: ‘Up and 0ver’ garage doors are usually fitted with a central locking handle which can be fitted with a hasp and staple, and padlock to strengthen security.

If you have an alarm fitted on your home, consider extending the system to cover your garage.

Fit British Standard approved locks to all external doors and any internal garage doors.