Over 8,000 burglaries in Laois and Offaly in last 10 years
Some 8,268 burglaries have occurred in the Laois-Offaly Garda region over the past decade, according to new analysis carried out by PhoneWatch.
This is equivalent to one in every seven homes or businesses in each county experiencing a break-in during this time.
With 1,594 Portlaoise Garda Station recorded the most burglaries of any of Laois’s Garda stations. Portarlington (688) and Mountmellick (419) were the second and third highest respectively, while with just 82 Clonaslee received the lowest number of burglary reports for the county.
In total, 245,260 burglaries occurred in Ireland in the 10 years between January 2009 and December 2018. While there were significant variations year-on-year, 2018 saw the lowest number of burglaries for the decade (16,969).
The analysis shows that when compared to the nationwide burglary rate of an average of one in every seven homes or premises being burgled Laois/Offaly is in line with the national average.
With 1,236 Tullamore Garda Station recorded the most burglaries of any of Offaly’s Garda stations. Edenderry (617) and Birr (420) were the second and third highest respectively while with just 68, Banagher received the lowest number of burglary reports for the county.
Elsewhere, Dublin accounted for 41% of all burglaries in the country over the past decade, equivalent to 1 in 5 premises in the county, while Kerry showed the lowest burglary levels the equivalent of 1 in 19 properties.
Speaking about the figures, PhoneWatch Managing Director, Eoin Dunne said, “While we’re seeing a welcome reduction in burglaries in recent years, the reality is that burglary still remains all too common in Ireland. By examining the figures over an extended period we can see the true scale and impact of burglary in Ireland. The good news is that our research shows Irish householders are taking more steps in recent years to protect their homes, and this is having a positive effect.”
While the darker months have shown higher levels of burglary for many years, this has become a more pronounced trend in recent times. Over the past decade, the research shows that when the clocks go back, until they go forward again, burglary rates have been 31% higher.
Overall, November is the highest month for burglary for many years, accounting for 11% of break-ins on average. In most recent years, there has been a rise in burglaries in January and February, with burglaries during these two months almost doubling over the past decade (+92%).
PhoneWatch also commissioned research on the impact of burglary on homeowners. Of those surveyed, 52% felt the worst impact of a burglary is the idea of a stranger being in their home, significantly ahead of the loss of possessions at 29%. This sentiment is echoed by those who have been burgled, with 80% saying the lasting impact has been a heightened awareness of strangers in their area.
Burglary is also an event which many homeowners fear, ranking alongside losing one’s job or getting into financial difficulty, in terms of perceived impact.
When it comes to possessions, it’s the personal items such as heirlooms (23%) or photos (21%) we fear losing the most. Of more replaceable items, over 20% are concerned about their car keys and 9% about credit cards.
There is positive news in how people are improving their home protection over the past decade. Today, 49% of Irish homes have an alarm. There has been a considerable increase in the number of people opting for a monitored alarm system. 36% of alarms are now monitored by a professional 24/7 service for added peace of mind.
While we are being smarter about protection, there are still simple errors people are making when it comes to home security. 41% of people admit to having left windows open while away, 38% will leave keys outside.
Eoin Dunne of PhoneWatch commented "while it’s very encouraging to see Irish homeowners investing in their home security, it’s worrying to see that we’re still forgetting the basics when it comes to our security. Burglary is predominantly an opportunistic crime, so leaving windows open, or keys, where they can be found, are mistakes that can be easily avoided. It’s the simple precautions which are often the most effective in protecting our homes."
"The research clearly shows that overall, we’re getting better at protecting our homes, and these added steps are having an impact with a welcome fall in burglaries. Ultimately, the safety of our homes is in our hands, with the research showing that taking additional precautions can make a significant difference."