herald

Thursday 15 November 2018

Going away? Keep it quiet - burglars are watching

If you see suspicious activity at your neighbour's house, don't leave it to someone else to investigate or report
If you see suspicious activity at your neighbour's house, don't leave it to someone else to investigate or report

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside - but don't expect me to be live-tweeting about it. The last thing I want is to give an open invitation to burglars and I suggest you don't do it either.

Burglaries are up - and people posting holiday plans and pictures of themselves on foreign beaches are helping thieves pick which homes to break into.

Yesterday, there was a story exposing gangs leaving tape or plastic bags tied across gates in rural counties to see if they would be broken. Which of course would indicate whether the homeowners were returning or not.

I can't imagine the same would be done in built-up areas but I suggest vigilance to all people.

If you see suspicious activity at your neighbour's house, don't leave it to someone else to investigate or report.

Unlocked

Most burglaries happen during the afternoon. Most through the front door when people forget to double-bolt the door. Or through a window that has been left open to ventilate the house.

Last year, €4.5m worth of jewellery and cash was stolen from Irish homes. Unsecured ladders and tools left lying about are often used to gain access. Unlocked sheds are another welcome sign for burglars.

Although I rarely have enough money to pay the milkman or buy an ice cream from the van when it drives by, I don't leave my house empty.

I always have some people move into my home while I'm away. But then I have dogs that also need looking after, and my plants. Don't laugh. I can't be the only person who worries about their plants dying while they're on holidays? Can I?

Apparently instead of telling Facebook that you're heading off to the Costa for two weeks, you can tell your local garda station so that passing patrols can keep an eye on it.

Another piece of advice from gardai is to invest in timers.

If you're away, put lamps on timers. I'd personally recommend putting radios on timers so your house doesn't sound empty, as well as looking like a vulnerable space.

My big bugbear is when people leave curtains open or closed for a fortnight. It's so bloody obvious. You might as well leave a notice on the door, 'We're Away.'

Even if you can only get someone to call over to your house once or twice, get them to change around the curtains and possibly even move your car to break the continuity.

Of course having an alarm is a deterrent. I also have cameras, which allow me to watch my home and gardens at any time on my phone.

Quite often, though, it's simple things that can help keep your home safe.

So don't be a victim because you couldn't wait to share your holiday plans online.

For more information on Summertime Safety, check out garda.ie.

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