Careless homeowners still at risk despite fall in burglaries

Gardai warn that a third of all burglaries take place between 5pm and 8pm

Almost €15 million was stolen from Irish homes by burglars in the second half of last year with most criminals gaining access to homes through the front or back door, according to research published by the Garda today.

The report, published to coincide with the National Crime Prevention Day of Action, found jewellery and cash and small electronic items were the most commonly stolen items while a third of all burglaries took place between 5pm and 8pm.

Garda analysis of reported crimes last year indicated that 28 per cent of burglars gained access through a rear window while 27 per cent went through the front door and 25 broke in through a back door.

The number of burglaries fell by 9 per cent in the 12 months to the end of last June, according to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office, but a Garda spokesman said people still needed to remain vigilant.


He warned that most burglars look for easy targets, such as homes with no lights on, no alarm or unsecured doors and windows.

"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.

He also advised home owners to ensure valuables were out of sight and large amounts of cash were never kept in the house.

Burglaries can occur at any time throughout the day with over 30 per cent taking place between 5pm and 8pm and 15 per cent occurring overnight.

“It sounds condescending but if people would just lock their doors and make sure that windows were closed the rate of burglaries could fall by 20 per cent,” Sgt Courtney said as he urged all home owners to have house alarms fitted and to ensure they were on even when people were at home, particularly at night.

He stressed the importance of monitored alarms although he was unable to say what the average Garda response time was to such alarms.

He also warned of fishing an activity which sees burglars push adapted fishing rods through letterboxes to “fish” car and house keys from hall tables. There were over 100 cases where car keys were “fished” through letterboxes between July and December last year.

Garda Top Tips

1. Secure all Doors and Windows

2. Light up your Home, use timer switches when out

3. Store Keys safely and away from windows and letterboxes

4. Record details of valuables and don’t keep large cash amounts at home

5. Use your Alarm, even when at home

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast