This post was originally published on May 5, 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Sheds frequently house out-of-season—but valuable—items, like motor vehicles, bikes, lawn equipment and toys. Sheds may also contain tools that could enable a burglar to break into your main home and cause more damage.

For these reasons, your shed should receive the same level of security as the rest of your house—whether it’s attached or at the edge of your property.

A few simple safety precautions can protect your shed against vulnerabilities.

Step One: Lock Your Shed Securely

When not in use, your shed should remain locked. However, with today’s technology, burglars can find hacks to break traditional locks with a quick search on the Internet. Multiple sites explain how to hack past common padlocks sold in stores. Consider installing smart locks on your shed that can be controlled with your mobile app. This is a simple way to effectively secure your belongings.

Ensure your lock is up to the job. Especially with wooden sheds, it’s important that the hardware surrounding the lock is sturdy and cannot be easily ripped off. As a general rule, the screws that fasten your lock’s hardware should go in at least 1 to 1.5 inches.

Step Two: Optimize Your Yard for Security

To further deter burglars, consider installing motion sensors and video surveillance cameras. These safety measures will deter criminals looking to stay out of sight and will also allow you to identify trespassers.

Additionally, you can schedule outdoor lights to turn on in the evening—regardless of whether someone is home. Lights eliminate dark hiding places and will illuminate anyone who crosses your property’s threshold.

Step Three: Cover Your Shed’s Windows

Many burglars will window shop to determine whether contents are worth the break-in. If your shed has windows, cover them with paper or curtains, or have them frosted. For added protection, install impact-resistant windows or glass-break sensors.

Step Four: Secure Ladders on Your Property

Be sure to have ladders securely stored out of sight. Criminals can use ladders to break into windows near the top of your shed or the second floor of your home. Make ladders harder to access by keeping them chained or locked within your shed.

Step Five: Organize Your Shed With Security in Mind

Use an organizer or cubby system with locks to keep dangerous tools out of sight. Lock tools that could facilitate a home break-in, such as crowbars, saws and bolt cutters. Keep bulky or heavy items against windows to make it harder for burglars to reach in.

An organized shed will also help you identify what has been taken in the event of a break-in.

For more information on home security, and to discuss solutions to protect your property, contact a Vector Security professional today.