Garda warn holidaymakers not to alert burglars with social media posts
‘If people are going away on holidays during the summer, they should inform their local Garda station’
Garda crime prevention officers say it is vital that trusted keyholders were asked to “keep an eye on” property left unoccupied during holidays.
People who share posts on social media while abroad on holidays this summer are at higher risk of being burgled by criminals living in their own communities, gardaí have warned.
While burglaries on homes have in the past increased during the winter months, there is a noted increase in property being stolen from garages and outhouses during the summer.
Gardaí on Wednesday revealed that some €6.4 million worth of property and cash was stolen in burglaries in the Republic during the summer months last year.
There was also a 32 per cent increase in the number of burglaries targeting property, including expensive bicycles and gardening and DIY equipment, from gardens, garages and driveways.
Garda crime prevention officer Sgt Graham Kavanagh said householders were often more relaxed during the summer months about securing their properties, as windows were opened more often and more time was spent in the garden.
The evidence, he said, strongly suggested burglars were taking advantage of this, and also the fact so many houses were vacant during the summer when people were away on holidays.
“If people are going away on holidays during the summer, they should inform their local Garda station,” he said.
“If we aware there are vacant properties in a particular area we can factor that in when we are planning patrols.”
Sgt Kavanagh made his remarks on Wednesday, the inaugural EU ‘focus day’ to prevent domestic burglaries.
In involves police forces from a number of European countries highlighting the issue of domestic burglaries and offering advice aimed at preventing as many burglaries as possible.
In Ireland, one in four burglaries involves a criminal gaining access to a property through an unsecured door or window.
Sgt Kavanagh said while travelling gangs often came into an area from another region to carry out several burglaries in a short period of time and then flee, in other cases those behind the crimes were much closer to home.
“They are people that may know when you do the school run, when you normally going shopping; they’ll know what a house is empty for maybe 15 minutes or even a few hours.”
Sgt Kavanagh said by posting from abroad about how they were enjoying their holidays, people were inadvertently supplying valuable intelligence to local criminals who knew where they lived.
It was vital, he said, that trusted keyholders were asked to “keep an eye on” any property left unoccupied during a foreign holiday.
“They don’t need to live in your house, but they should be checking it regularly and doing things to make it look occupied,” he said. He suggested the trusted keyholder could open and close curtains or blinds or even park their car for periods in the driveway of a vacant house.
“They’d need to be doing something regularly in the house, not just going in the last day and making it look like they’d be taking care of the place.”
He added householders also needed to secure doors and windows and to refrain from leaving items around the property that could be used by burglars to gain entry.