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Beat the Burglars

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Republic's crime rate is up 5% on last year! *(Source Irish Times, Oct 08)

. Burglaries (In the ROI) are up 10 per cent to 25,198 cases, while thefts are up 4 per cent to 77,040. (source Irish Times Oct 2008)

. It's been reported that home burglaries have soared by one third over the past year - €100 million worth of goods have been stolen from Irish homes.

. It's Christmas, it's dark, homes will be vacant and expensive gifts are ripe for the taking.

Sergeant Alan Roughneen - crime prevention officer with the Garda

Tips on keeping your home safe.
1. If possible, fit locks on windows and doors and make sure they are securely fitted.
2. House alarms are recommended - make sure to arm them when leaving the house; and do make sure they are fitted by a reputable company.
3. Secure all garages, sheds and outhouses.
4. Fit exterior lighting - motion sensor detectors.
5. Have emergency numbers, neighbours numbers either on speed dial or readily available.
6. Do not leave keys visible or under a mat or plant pot.
7. Do not leave ladders in the garden.
8. Fit your door with a peep hole and if possible, have a chain on the door.
Why do houses get targeted by burglars?
Houses are vulnerable when they are empty and burglars will look for opportunities and see out houses that are empty or unprotected.
How does the burglar know your house is empty?
The look for the most obvious times such as if curtains are closed during the day.
Milk or post has accumulated in the doorway.
During changes in daylight when it's dawn or dusk and lights would normally be turned on or off and curtains should either be opened or closed etc., The burglar notices these details.

Does the situation of your property make a difference?
Yes. Properties that are accessible to burglars are ones out of public view; such as houses backing onto a railway line, end houses, properties obscured by trees.
At no stage should a key ever be left available around the house - i.e. under a mat, a bin, in the shed, etc.,
This is the holiday season and people traditionally visit family, friends, go away on holidays etc., What should viewers do to keep their homes protected over the festive period?

Preparation is the key.
. Let neighbours know you'll be away.
. Have the house well maintained. If going away for a couple of weeks, cut the grass before you go.
. Notify the Gardai that your home will be vacant.
. Make use of external lighting, i.e. timers and sensors.
What do you do if you realize you have an intruder?
. Never confront a burglar. Your own safety is more important than any possessions and you do not know how many intruders there are.
. Contact the Gardai or a neighbour straight away. These numbers should be on speed dial on your mobile or easily accessible in your house.
. Try to create a noise that may alarm neighbours or passers by.
. It's a good idea to have a clear number on your house so that Gardai can find your premises as quickly as possible.

Make sure you have a strong door - at least 44mm thick. Fit a 5 lever mortice deadlock a third of the way up the door and back this up with a chain. Replace glazed panels with laminated glass. On French doors, fit mortice locks to the top and bottom.

Don't leave cash, credit cards, mobile phones, expensive gifts, etc., where burglars can see them. Mark valuable pieces of property with your post code and house, apartment name and number. Marked property is difficult for burglars to sell.

Your tools are handy for burglars to use to break into your property. Tidy them away; especially garden spades and levers that can be used to force open doors and windows.
Someone's home.
Leave a radio switched on or have a timer activated radio to give the illusion that someone's home.

Ground floor flats and apartments.
To discourage burglars fit hinge bolts that prevent the door being knocked off its hinges. You could re-enforce the door frame with a steel plate and don't buzz people in without knowing who they are. Fit a door chime that sounds if someone stands on your door mat.
And remember.
If you lock yourself out of the house and can get back in easily then it's possibly safe to say, a burglar can too.
A barking dog is a good deterrent.
When buying expensive Christmas presents such as a flat screen TV or PC etc., dispose of all packaging out of site. Don't leave boxes visible outside of your home.