How to Prevent Community Garden Theft: 5 Tips from David Tracey

Are thieves lurking around your prized pumpkin patch?

By Sander Tamm

Prevent Community Garden Theft
Prevent Community Garden Theft / Sander Tamm / Ecolife

Stealing from community gardens is a rampant problem today, and in his book “Guerilla Gardening”, gardening expert David Tracey has shared five invaluable tips for deterring nasty thieves from snooping around your urban garden patches.

Here are 5 tips for preventing community garden theft:

  1. Keep your eyes on the prize. During the harvest season, it’s especially important to be sure your garden is in view of homes where you or your neighbors might be able to keep an eye on things.
  2. Try to hide any valuable crops behind less popular ones. For instance, yellow tomatoes are much less tempting than red ones. Grow desirable and easily picked food (such as raspberries) behind less popular crops like parsnips or beets.
  3. Ensure the other gardeners know how to react if a thief is spotted. Most robbers will slink away when confronted, and it’s helpful to have common strategies in place for how to respond.
  4. Put up a sign that may deter theft. A “Do Not Steal” sign is one option, but consider creative alternatives. Adding a message explaining who gardens in the area and why or warning of some fictitious scientific test in progress may help deter theft from your garden.
  5. Grow as many crops as possible. Growing more than you need in various crops will make it harder for one thief to clean out your entire season’s bounty.