lock out the burglars

Over 50 per cent of burglars enter homes either through the front or back door, according to the latest figures from An Garda Síochána.

Over 50 per cent of burglars enter homes either through the front or back door, according to the latest figures from An Garda Síochána.

Work done by the Garda Síochána Analysis Service shows that the main entry points by burglars to houses are through a rear window (28%), front door (27%), and rear door (25%).

The Gardaí highlighted the figures last week at the launch of its National Crime Prevention Day of Action, to promote a range of measures to secure homes against burglarly.

“Burglars will tend to go for what they view as easy targets – houses with no lights on, no alarm, or unsecured doors and windows. So it is critical for householders to secure all doors and windows, light up their homes even when out, and have an alarm and turn it on even when at home,” said Sgt Kelvin Courtney of the National Crime Prevention Unit.

Householders are also advised to ensure that valuables are out of sight and large amounts of cash are not kept in the house as jewellery and cash accounted for 75% of the property stolen in the last six months of 2013. This jewellery and cash had a value of some €10.7m.

An Garda Síochána recommends people take the following steps to reduce the chances of their home being burglarised:

- Secure all doors and windows

- Light up your home and use timer switches on lights for when you are out

- Store key safely and away from windows and letterboxes

- Record details of valuable and don’t keep large cash amounts at home

- Use your alarm, even when you are at home

The time of the year can also influence how and when burglars seek to enter homes. In winter, up to 20% of burglaries occur during twilight hours when homes can look unoccupied. While in summer months, burglaries are more likely to take place through unsecured doors and windows.

Burglaries can occur at any time throughout the day with over 30% taking place between 5pm and 8pm, and 15% occurring overnight during the past six months.

The Gardaí also advise people that “fishing”, which sees burglars place implements such as adapted fishing rods through letterboxes to “fish” car and house keys from hall tables, can result in houses being easily entered or cars being stolen from outside the house. There were over 100 cases where car keys were “fished” through letterboxes between July and December last year. Gardaí say reducing burglaries and related thefts is a major priority and a number of operations are in place nationally and locally to combat burglaries.

For instance, Operation Fiacala, which is a national operation targeting travelling burglary gangs has led to over 7,000 people being arrested and over 4,000 being charged. While there are also specific Garda operations in each region such as Operation Acer in the Dublin area that are successfully tackling burglars operating locally.

An Garda Síochána will be publicising these tips and more detailed advice through www.garda.ie and its Facebook and Twitter channels over the next week.