Burglary bucks the trend as recession fuels need for cash and alternative criminal career
Burglary is one of the few categories of crime that has increased in recent years
BURGLARIES ARE up by 15 per cent since the onset of the economic crisis in 2008. Garda sources believe the reasons for this are many and varied – ranging from the decline in the drug trade to people publicising their absence from home on Facebook.
With demand for recreational drugs having fallen in line with disposable income, many street dealers are finding it more difficult to generate an income on the lower rungs of the drug-dealing ladder. “It appears the ones that are hooked on drugs are doing more break-ins to pay for , and the value of gold jewellery now is also driving it because . . . they turn it into cash very quickly,” said one detective.
Several gardaí who spoke to The Irish Times said they were concerned people’s use of social media site Facebook was increasing their vulnerability to break-ins.
“You have people using the check-in function to register where they are all the time, often miles away from home or even away on a foreign holiday,” said one garda. “Lots of these people have hundreds and hundreds of Facebook friends, sometimes thousands. They actually haven’t a clue who these friends are. And they often don’t have their account on a private setting anyway, so anyone can view their page.”
There are other, more traditional ways for burglars to find out if a house is empty. “We’ve had loads of cases down the years of burglars looking at the death notices in newspapers to see what funerals are on and working out what houses will be empty during the funeral so they can rob them.”
Some Garda sources believe another factor may be that stolen jewellery can be more easily sold on the streets than previously. However, a recent report compiled by the Garda found no evidence to suggest cash for gold outlets were generally buying stolen jewellery.
Datacompiled by the Garda suggests 37 per cent of burglars enter a target property through a poorly secured door or window. Some 27 per cent get in through the front door by kicking it in or smashing a glass panel or surround and putting their hand inside to open the door. This “highlights the need to have a second, Chubb-style lock on the front door,” said a Garda source.
In 32 per cent of cases, householders make it very easy for burglars by leaving a door or window open. Gardaí say 23.5 per cent of break-ins occur between noon and 4pm, with a 16 per cent drop in residential burglaries during the summer.
“It may be because children are on school holidays and a parent who is normally out working is at home more often with the kids during the day,” said one garda.